Unions’ anger at thirty minute sacking warning

BISUnions have condemned Department for Business (BIS) plans to close its Sheffield office, threatening 250 jobs, as part of a five-year restructure which will shift all policy roles to its London HQ.

The BIS proposal, which was only revealed to trade unions 30 minutes before being announced to staff, will see the Sheffield office close in January 2018. BIS also stated its intention to withdraw from other sites throughout the regions, putting a further 100 jobs at risk.

Prospect negotiator Julie Flanagan said: “We hear lots of rhetoric about the importance of the regional growth agenda and the need to develop a Northern Powerhouse. Today’s announcement – and others like it – makes a mockery of the government’s stated policy. Greater centralisation of power in London will create an even bigger gulf with the regions.

“As the wording makes clear, this move is all about accommodating large reductions in headcount and nothing to do with the department’s core function of boosting business.

“No relocation expenses have been offered to staff in Sheffield, so most of them face the very real threat of redundancy. However, given the state of pay in the civil service it will be no easy task recruiting to new roles in one of the world’s most expensive cities.”

GMB European Officer Kathleen Walker Shaw said: “GMB has been calling for a full revision of the posting of workers rules for many years. GMB considers this EU enforcement directive is a drop in the ocean to the serious revision we need on these rules. The proposed government regulations to implement this have watered protections down still further.

“GMB gave BIS multiple case evidence of abuse of posted workers and large scale undercutting of terms and conditions because protections under the provisions weren’t strong enough and they have done nothing to address the loopholes that will allow these practices to continue.

“EU governments would be forgiven for scratching their heads in wonder at Cameron charging around Europe demanding a halt to migrant workers coming to the UK in his reform demands. They will be bemused that at the same time BIS encouraging the ushering in of cheap posted labour undercutting UK wages through weakening these laws to the extent that they are not fit for purpose. If Cameron was serious about protecting decent jobs he would make full use of any tools he has in the box.”

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