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Peel Ports: A Revenge Move?

Unions claim that the planned restructure of Peel Ports, just before industrial action commences, is a retaliatory move. They have condemned the port of Liverpool operator for the timing of the redundancy consultation, describing it as ‘revenge’ for the strike action.

Peel Ports has been condemned for timing a restructuring of its container division just before strike action

Peel Ports announced they would begin a redundancy consultation process in mid-October, with significant job losses in the pipeline.

“We are exploring a number of different options to try and protect as many jobs as possible, including redeploying staff in other areas of the business,” confirmed a spokesperson for Peel Ports.

“While this is an extremely regrettable situation, as a responsible employer, we need to restructure now in order to minimise the potential greater impact the downturn in container business will have on jobs further down the line.”

A drop in volumes

The port’s volumes have dropped in recent months, in line with the overall decline in container movements throughout Europe. Peel’s spokesperson said this was indicative of a “rapid decline in throughput over the next few months”.

“We’ve invested heavily in building a business which has changed the outlook and prosperity for Liverpool, creating growth and jobs across the supply chain,” added the spokesperson. “Our aim is to grow the business further and create more jobs, not lose them.”

Timing of the announcement

The announcement was made just days before a fresh wave of industrial action began in mid-October. Critics of Peel Ports have labelled these “bully boy tactics” to disincentivise industrial action.

“Peel’s plan is to pile up even more profit at the expense of its workers and their families. These months-old plans are nothing new and have ensured this dispute is now about jobs and pay,” said Unite union general secretary Sharon Graham.

“It is a cynical attempt to intimidate workers. It will not work. Maybe if they spent more time solving the dispute, as opposed to attacking workers, they’d be in a better place.”

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