Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/719/14557

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 May 2012

AEI Cables: "Thrown out in disgraceful circumstances"

A worker and trade unionist who was sacked at AEI Cables in Birtley, Tyne and Wear in 2011 sent us this report on what happened last year. He writes as part of the committee of 'Shafted by AEI'. Reports on the appalling sackings were printed in the Socialist at the time.

I am ashamed to admit that I have never been particularly politically active; having been in steady employment for over three decades. I believed that voting Labour every four years was all I needed to do.

However, after being thrown out of work, along with more than 100 colleagues in the most disgraceful circumstances, I feel the need to stand up and be counted. Having come across your paper at the Newcastle May Day rally, I thought you may be interested in our story.

AEI Cables Ltd is an electric cable manufacturer, one of Birtley's major employers. It was established in 1929 and was taken over by Paramount Communications Ltd of India in 2007.

On 26 May 2011, AEI Cables Ltd informed the workforce of their intention to make around 100 redundancies, to claim insolvency and to apply for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). Next day without consultation or notice 126 employees, most with well over 30 years' service, were informed, either in person or by letter, that their contract had been terminated by AEI with immediate effect.

The first two employees to go were the GMB union local branch chair and the union branch secretary. The management later congratulated themselves on TV news for having saved the remaining 189 jobs.

In the eight months before this announcement, these union representatives repeatedly asked why temporary workers employed by AEI were being trained on key jobs while full-time employees were doing menial tasks such as sweeping up. No answer was forthcoming.

Each of the 126 workers made redundant was informed that, due to the company's insolvency, no redundancy payment would be made. Instead, redundant employees were advised to apply to the government Insolvency Service. The taxpayer has thus taken on the bill for all these redundancies as well as for the 90 days statutory notice payment these workers received. AEI Cables paid nothing.

Minimum payment

All we redundant workers got was the government-defined minimum. The enhanced redundancy agreements in place at AEI from previous pay and conditions negotiations were no longer applicable.

24 temporary employees were retained at the time of the redundancies. Employees with long service and decades of experience were chosen for redundancy before these workers.

Each person involved appealed against the redundancy and asked what selection criteria had been used. The company refused to consider any appeal, citing the CVA and the need for swift action to save the company, and claiming that the whole process had been carried out in less than 72 hours. But they said, even if correct redundancy procedure had been followed, those same employees would still have been selected.

Local MPs and union leaders have been approached since the redundancies but show reluctance to become involved, or to offer other than minimal help or guidance.

AEI Cables Ltd is still trading, and continues to take on temporary workers, performing tasks previously carried out by the redundant workers. On the local news, a temporary worker was shown being trained to run the machine previously operated by the now redundant GMB union branch chairman.

It seems any company can now terminate the contract of any employees, at any time, without notice or consultation, and without being liable for any redundancy payments - and expect the British taxpayer to fund all such payments. It seems a Company Voluntary Arrangement supersedes British employment law.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 May 2012:


Fighting the cuts

Hospital jobs scandal - Action now to save the NHS!

Con-Dems' hypocrisy over children's care

Our education under attack

Council workers in Cheshire strike against attacks on pay


Socialist Party news and analysis

We stand 100% with the Greek workers

Rochdale: far right attempts to exploit tragedy of abuse

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland: 31 May referendum

Eurovision hosts are top of the charts for repression


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Back to work? How the system fails the unemployed

Mullivaikal 2012 - Solidarity with the Tamil people

Lincolnshire academies in crisis

Profit hungry 'Big Oil' backs climate change deniers

The housing crisis - action needed now

Youth Fight for Jobs Northern Ireland launched in Belfast

Building the electoral alternative in Brent

Stockland Green march for jobs

More attacks on right to campaign


Socialist Party workplace news

Interview with RMT assistant general secretary candidate

AEI Cables: "Thrown out in disgraceful circumstances"

Leadership shows weakness at CWU conference

Workplace news in brief

National Shop Stewards Network


 

Facebook   Twitter



Home   |   The Socialist 23 May 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter



Related links:

Tyne and Wear:

triangleTyne and Wear TUSC organising meeting

triangleLocal elections 2014: A good base for TUSC to build on

triangleChurchill Cleaners' landmark victory

triangleTwo weeks of strike action by Churchill cleaners

triangleTwelfth day of strike action by Tyne and Wear metro cleaners

Union:

triangleBT pay cuts: we need less surveys, more action!

triangleProtests, strikes and equality: Women in World War One

triangleRoyal Mail workers stage unofficial walkout

triangleSacked for union activity

Redundancies:

triangleStrike back for a living wage

triangleObituary: George Duff

triangleTeachers strike against threatened redundancies

GMB:

triangleRaise the minimum wage: 10 NOW

triangleNSSN: Packed out London J10 post-demo meeting

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/8/14

Aslef

Aslef Central Line tube drivers strike

21/8/14

Milford Haven

Milford Haven campaign against mosquito sound device

20/8/14

Doncaster

Chester solidarity with Doncaster Care UK workers

20/8/14

Newport

Capitalism means war: Join the Socialists!

20/8/14

Youth

Fight for real jobs

20/8/14

Surrey

Surrey council workers look to strike on pay

20/8/14

CWU

BT pay cuts: we need less surveys, more action!

20/8/14

Firefighters

North West Fire Service call centre cuts catastrophe

20/8/14

Stafford

Protest camp brings NHS activists together

20/8/14

Southampton

Re-house Charlie Wort!

20/8/14

Hackney

Campaign steps up on New Era estate

20/8/14

Youth

Youth services: jobs and centres slashed

20/8/14

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

TUSC byelection reports

20/8/14

Leeds

Campaigning for genuine equality at Leeds Pride

19/8/14

Liverpool

Liverpool anger at library closures

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

NHS workers on strike on 30 November 2011, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle20 Aug We can't live on poverty pay!

London Gaza demo 19 July 2014, photo Paul Mattsson

triangle20 Aug Capitalism means war: Join the Socialists!

triangle20 Aug Fight for real jobs

Women munitions workers during World War One

triangle20 Aug Protests, strikes and equality: Women in World War One

triangle19 Aug The People's March for the NHS

triangle19 Aug BT CWU members vote for strike action in latest consultation

triangle19 Aug Protesters condemn mayor Anderson's continuing butchery

More ...

triangle28 Aug Fast Food Rights day of action

triangle28 Aug Swansea Socialist Party: No to Nato

triangle28 Aug South London Socialist Party: Ferguson erupts over police killings

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice