Thursday, 30 April 2009

We don't need it yet but this maybe of help to some families... Step-by-step guide to redundancy planning

With harsh winds of recession blowing hard; whether it’s worry over meeting your mortgage, fears of your finances falling apart, the stress of finding another job or the strain on a relationship, the pressure from a job loss can make it a tough experience. Though some will just feel the joy of release from a miserable job.

Either way don’t let it take hold of you and stop you moving on to another job, career change, training or even taking time out. With preparation you can batten down the hatches and hopefully bounce back quicker and stronger.
This guide doesn’t just apply for those who’ve been given notice or heard rumours. In the current economic climes it’s sensible for everyone to take a moment to think how they’d be impacted; and if possible put a contingency plan in place.
If you’ve been told redundancy is a possibility or think it might be heading your way, then you’re in a much better position if you take action before it happens.
Sort your finances NOW
If you’re nervous about losing your job but not in any immediate danger, the idea is to think as if you’re about to lose your job, in order to protect yourself as best you can.
Do a debt audit. Your credit score in work will usually be much better than if you lose your job, as the loss of income means lenders will be less keen to give you credit.
Therefore if your existing debts aren’t at cheap rates, it’s best to apply sooner to try and cut their costs. See the Best Balance Transfers, Best Bank Account, Cheap Loans and Mortgage Finding guides for more info.
Pay off debts. If you’ve any spare savings, use them to clear outstanding credit cards or loans. Having debts hanging over you during redundancy is a nightmare. The cost of most debts vastly exceeds the interest earned on savings.
However it’s important to ensure you keep access to emergency funds if you need them. If you do decide to pay off debts, but it takes longer than planned to find a new job, you may need this money later on for day to day living. More info in the Should I Repay My Debts guide.
Check car insurance. Rather scandalously, the unemployed often (though not always) pay higher rates for their car insurance. So it’s worth aiming to get a cheaper policy sooner. Cheap Insurance Guides: Car, Van, Motorbike.
There's also currently an offer for up to 6 months off Lloyds Home Solutions Insurance if you are made compulsorily redundant, as long as you've NO likelihood of redundancy, in 2009. Full info, and guide to getting the cheapest cover in the Home Insurance Guide.
Check out mortgage rescue. If you have a mortgage, work out what level of protection you have if you were to lose your job. Both private, work based and government schemes may help. See the Mortgage Arrears guide for more info.
Up your income. There are a host of things you can do to bring in cash in the short term, from mystery shopping to flogging your CD collection. See the Boost Your Income guide for ideas.
Do a budget & money makeover. There’s nothing more important that running through all your finances to see what bills you can cut (see the Money Makeover guide) and doing a full budget to ensure you’re spending within your means (see the Free Budget Planner). The Stop Spending guide will also show you lots of little ways to cut back.
To be truly prepared, if losing your job’s likely, start living now as if you’d already lost it. Cut back on everything, and put spare cash away to help you live when there’s less income. This way while you’re living tighter for longer, the depths aren’t as deep.
Consider joining a Trade Union
If your company or industry has a union and you’re not a member, it’s worth considering joining. Most will be able to advise on, and barter for, better redundancy packages on your behalf and provide free advice and guidance on your rights. Check out what the appropriate union is and what it provides using the TUC’s Union Finder tool.
Network and build contacts
Keep your ear to the ground and see what else is available; whether it’s openings elsewhere in your company or at a rival, many job positions become available long before they’re advertised publicly, so be prepared to take advantage.
Now could also be the time to push your luck where you might not've had the confidence before. Don't be afraid to ask if work's available if you're not sure you have the relevant experience. Sometimes you don't get if your don't ask.
Though do remember while ‘last in, first out’ no longer applies, you have less employment rights in the early stages of a new job than you do when you’ve been there for longer, so if you move when redundancy doesn’t actually happen; there is a slight risk to your security.
Plus if you’re likely to be offered voluntary redundancy and a big payout, or have long service at a company, jumping ship may mean you lose all that. Weight it up carefully.
Redundancy and payment protection
There are a number of types of insurance policy that will cover your income, or just certain loan repayments, if you lose your job.
However it’s important to understand one thing...
If redundancy is forseeable when you take out a policy, it may be void.
For example if there’s been an announcement in the firm that some jobs are going or it’s been rumoured strongly, then it’s possible this will disqualify you from claiming, meaning a policy is a waste of money. The same’s usually true if you take voluntary redundancy. So check first.
Applicable insurance types include:
Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance. This is designed to cover your mortgage repayments and related home costs in the event of accident, sickness or unemployment. See the MPPI guide.
Payment Protection Insurance. These policies cover repayments of other debts, again in the event of accidents, sickness and unemployment. Often they’re sold with loans and are massively over expensive, but bought through standalone providers can be much better value. See the Loan Insurance and Credit Card Insurance guides.
Unemployment cover. It’s also possible, albeit becoming harder to find, to take out specific ‘unemployment only’ cover as a standalone policy.
The idea is that this insurance offers a regular monthly sum to cover your normal outgoings including mortgages and bills for up to 12 months. As a rule they tend to pay out a maximum of around £1,500 or 50% of your gross salary. For example, Safety First costs roughly £4 for every £100 of cover taken out, yet this is only a little cheaper than its accident, sickness and unemployment cover.
This type of insurance is incredibly valuable in the right circumstances, but there’ve been huge numbers of mis-selling cases, and many have paid massively over the odds. If you’re considering a policy, do carefully check through all the terms to see if it’s suitable and ensure you do a full market comparison.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Warm reception for a chilly Solution at Hutchison Ports

After an absence of ten years, Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited is pleased to announce the return of Commercial Cold Storage and Handling Services at the Port of Felixstowe. In a unique venture between the Port and Seafast Logistics Plc, agreements were recently signed for the first of four phases of development. The facility, appropriately named “Celsius” will be operated by Seafast and serviced by the Port.
Chris Lewis, CEO HPUK said “We are delighted to be taking this next logical step in the ongoing development of our Port-centric Logistics Services. Having already established solutions with numerous ambient and dry goods shippers for FMCG and bulk commodities, our attention was turned to the needs of the cold chain and temperature-controlled consignments.”
David Halliday, MD Seafast Group commented “We have been exploring the market for such a facility for some time. There is undoubtedly a significant requirement for an on-Port solution offering a range of services to carriers, importers and cargo owners all seeking to reduce their supply chain costs and improve their overall efficiency at this time. After consideration, we have opted for a modular construction, supplied by the market leaders Dawson Group, which will allow us to develop all four phases rapidly whilst still retaining a high degree of in-built flexibility.”

Container volumes continue to decline in China, the US and Europe

Container throughput at various ports continues to decline, with only three of China's Top 10 ports showing a negligible increase in volumes.
China's biggest port in terms of volumes - Shanghai - handled 5.61 million TEU in the period January - March 2009, down 15% compared with same period last year.
Throughput for Shenzhen (3.88 million TEU) and Guagngzhou (2,15 million TEU) were down 21% and 24% respectively.
By comparison, the Port of Los Angeles handled 1.53 million TEU in the first quarter of this year, down 17.43%.
The Port of Rotterdam handled 2.25 million TEU in Q1 2009, down 16% compared with 2.68 million TEU during the same period last year, and the Port of Antwerp handled 1.74 million TEU, down 16.3% from 2.07 million TEU in Q1 2008.
Hans Smits, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, says that throughput is expected to decline by between 6% and 10% for the whole year.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Recession Update April 2009

For the full report please use the above link.

Downward trend in the volume of job losses continues, however the
numbers remain high
In March a total of 13161 redundancies were announced in Unite companies.
105 companies were affected, which was down slightly on the February figure
of 115.

NOL sees sharp drop in March box volumes

NEPTUNE Orient Lines continued to see a sharp drop in container volumes in March.
NOL reported that its container line APL handled 155,444 feu between March 7 and April 3, down 22% year on year.
For the year to date, volumes have plunged 27% to 481,600 feu compared to the same period in 2008.
“The decrease in volume was due to the decline in demand on all major trade lanes in view of the current global economic downturn,” NOL said.
Average revenues per feu fell 20% in the period ending April 3 to $2,347.

Port workers paid to stay at home

WHILE millions are worried about the future of their jobs, some Suffolk workers have found the recession has left them earning £25,000 a year while sitting at home.

Some Felixstowe portworkers, known as floaters, are recruited to be on standby for when things get busy - but with the downturn in world trade recently, they have been collecting their salaries without having to go anywhere near the port.

However port bosses today insisted that the number of floaters has been cut significantly as full-time workers expressed anger that they are facing pay cuts while others are still paid to stay at home.

Port chiefs say the number of floaters has decreased dramatically in the past few months but would not give figures.

It is understood that an offer earlier in the year of £10,000 to terminate workers' contracts, even if they had only been at the port a few months, has been taken up by many of them.

Others are now being placed on fixed-term work contracts to replace other full-timers who took voluntary redundancy.

One quayside worker reckoned there had been 100 floaters, costing the port up to £50,000 a week.

“The port is overmanned because of these floating contract employees sitting at home on full pay,” he said.

“There have been rumours from some managers that some floaters haven't been to work for months.

“They now want us to take two days unpaid on top of losing all our bonuses and subsidies - this is apparently so floaters can come in and get some shifts at our expense.”

Head of corporate affairs Paul Davey said: “Following the recent voluntary redundancy programme, we have converted the majority of the floaters to fixed-term contracts.

“There are very few floaters left and only negligible unused floater hours so we have not got large numbers of people sitting at home doing nothing and being paid.”

The floaters had given the port flexibility to deal with its workload which had been crucial at peak times.

Through voluntary redundancy and temporary changes to pay and conditions, the port was doing all it could to retain staff and skills in which time and money had been invested ready for when the recession ends.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Thousands of workers head to Birmingham for national march for jobs

WHEN: from 11am, Saturday, 16th May, 2009

WHERE: Birmingham City Centre

WHO: Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson, Unite joint general secretaries, Brendan Barber, TUC, plus leading figures from the world of business and politics, including former trade minister and first time marcher Digby Jones, alongside thousands of workers from across the UK.
National march for jobs

As unemployment rises across the UK and key sectors of the economy are battered by the recession, Unite, the UK’s biggest union, is to bring thousands of people from across the country to march in defence of their jobs.
The national march for jobs on Saturday, May 16th, 2009 through central Birmingham will see workers from every sector of the economy stand together to send a message to the government that protecting jobs must be the number one priority.
Unite is pressing for the government to:
implement a short-time working subsidy to keep people in work and off the dole
more sizeable and speedy action to support UK manufacturing
more help for business from the state-aided
greater protection for UK workers from redundancy.

Port probe after containers collapse

INVESTIGATIONS are under way today after an accident at Britain's biggest port in which a stack of containers collapsed.
The incident happened in a quayside container park at Felixstowe Port as a rubber-tyred gantry crane tried to sort rows of stored boxes.
It is understood the crane driver was trying to shuffle the boxes to find one on a lower level in a stack.
One portworker said: “What seems to have happened is that the crane driver decided to stack the boxes on top of each other when moving them and they became too heavy.
“The ones at the bottom of the stack then just gave way and crumpled up and the stack just toppled over and collapsed.
“A tug driver in a vehicle nearby managed to get out and away from the area just before it all happened.”
It is understood each of the containers had about 22 tons of imported potatoes inside.
The portworker said: “You could stack empties nine-high because there is no weight in them, but when the containers are full they can be several tons and that weight and pressure just builds up.
“There are regular accidents on the port. It is a dangerous environment to work in.
“I have seen the bottom fall out of containers being loaded onto ships because the container had metal fatigue, and others crumple when the weight on top was too much, but nothing like this before.”
Head of corporate affairs at the port, Paul Davey said no-one had been hurt in the accident - which happened at 5.30am on Wednesday - and an internal investigation was under way into the cause.
He added: “The yard is still open and we are able to handle trucks in there as normal.”
A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said an officer would be discussing the incident with the port.

High-profile job axed at ABP

DEPUTY port director Captain Steven Young has stunned the port community by announcing he is among more than 40 ABP workers to leave the docks in the latest round of job cuts.
He is the most high-profile victim of the wave of job losses on the waterfront triggered by the global recession.
A key player in the development of the port, he has pioneered Southampton’s rapid cruise and container growth, which, until recently, was rampant.
The era of expansion came to an end last year and the port is now struggling to cope with car handling volumes down 50 per cent and containers down more than ten per cent.
As a result there has been a succession of job cuts, with 45 axed by docks owner ABP last year, 82 by container port operator DP World last month and a further 42 by ABP last week.
Captain Young said he was now “exploring a number of opportunities in the region” after nearly two decades in the port.
“The trade slump is having a huge impact on the port and they have to address the cost,”he said.“So an opportunity arrived and it was mutually agreed that I leave at the end of March.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Unite fury at 'cavalier' sackings by Port of Yarmouth

Unite, the UK’s biggest union, has today (Friday) expressed its fury at the dismissal of five dockers from the Port of Yarmouth.
Unite is angry at a lack of meaningful consultation over the redundancies, and says it is a slap in the face for the union and its members who have been campaigning for decades to support a new outer harbour site.
Victor Brazkiewicz, Unite regional industrial organiser, said: “Instead of looking forward to the expansion of employment at the port, we now have the sacking of five dedicated workers.
“The company’s cavalier approach to the workforce is no way to repay loyal workers who have been heavily committed to promoting both the outer harbour and good industrial relations.
“Thanks to our efforts, along with local government, EEDA and members of parliament, millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is now being put towards this development.
“It is a tragedy that now some of our members face unemployment, little prospect of other work and only basic redundancy pay to keep them and their families during these hard times.”
On Friday 24th April, Unite and the company will engage in further discussions on the working arrangements for the remainder of the dockers, which will also involve the services of ACAS.

Taking the UK's economic pulse

BBC News correspondents across the country are finding out how badly each region is being affected by the downturn.
The government's latest growth figures showed that the recession is deepening, with GDP contracting by 1.9% in the first three months of 2009.


The east of England has had a rough ride over the past year.
Its economy, based on service industries, prospered during the boom years, giving it one of the lowest unemployment rates in the UK.
But a string of high profile job losses at companies such as Norwich Union, Indesit, Freemans and Vion Foods have shown it's not recession proof.
Even the Port of Felixstowe and Stansted Airport, two important engines of growth, have gone into reverse.
Traffic through Felixstowe is down by 20% over the past six months. And passenger numbers at Stansted are down 14% since the start of this year.

Maersk Makes Sweeping Asia-Europe Changes

Ocean carrier to cut costs through vessel sharing, port changes
Maersk Line today announced sweeping changes in the port coverage from Asia to North Europe, where it will focus on Felixstowe and Le Havre, and from Asia to the Mediterranean, where it is entering two new vessel-sharing agreements with CMA CGM, starting in mid-May.
The changes will not cut capacity but are designed instead to reduce costs by nailing down volume discounts at the two north Europe ports and by sharing larger and more economic vessels with CMA CGM.
The Danish carrier recently signed a new long-term agreement with the Port of Felixstowe that gives it discounts based on guaranteed volumes, said Philip Damas, division director of Drewry Supply Chain Advisors in London.
By dropping Southampton from the rotation of its AE1 service, it will meet those volume commitments, Damas said. In addition, Felixstowe also has a new rail service that can handle high-cube containers, which Southampton “is struggling to handle.”
The carrier is also dropping calls at Le Havre by its AE1 service, and will add them instead to its AE10 service, which will make direct calls from China at the French port.
In its services to the Mediterranean, Maersk will now run the AE11 (Asia-Jeddah, Egypt, Italy, France) service in a vessel-sharing agreement with CMA-CGM. At the same time, it will introduce direct calls from Asia to Trieste and Koper on the AE12 service, also in partnership with CMA-CGM.
By entering these two new VSAs, Maersk will reduce costs and gain economies of scale by using larger vessels, Damas said.

Asia – Europe network improvements

Maersk Line is pleased to announce improvements to our Asia - Europe network for implementation mid-May 2009 and onwards. Our service developments will offer our customers:
More direct port coverage
Unchanged Asia - Europe network capacity
Enhanced product reliability
A stronger product from Asia to the Adriatic
On our Asia to Northern Europe strings, we will concentrate our UK services into Felixstowe (AE1 service) and improve the direct coverage between China and Le Havre (AE10 service).

“We are very pleased to announce these Asia - Europe service improvements. We believe it displays our commitment to our customers, also in the present volatile trading environment. With these changes we are offering a wider range of port calls than ever before” says Lee Sissons, Director of Asia-Europe services in Maersk Line.

AE1: Japan, South China and Malaysia to Northern Europe Westbound we will add Felixstowe and remove Le Havre and Southampton. There are no changes eastbound. We will focus our Asia-UK coverage in Felixstowe to improve efficiencies in our vessel network and our UK inland haulage set up. For this reason, the Southampton call on will cease. The Le Havre call will be moved to the AE10 service.

Southampton strike averted

THE threat of strike action over job losses at Southampton’s DP World-operated container terminal has been averted, after a mass meeting of the workforce backed a compromise deal that makes proposed redundancies voluntary rather than compulsory, writes David Osler.

MSC storms back into boxship charter market;jsessionid=645CC99DD0A8E18313AA77BC68F4754B

MEDITERRANEAN Shipping Co has stormed back into the containership charter market with a slew of fixtures for post-panamax tonnage that should guarantee much lower costs than many if its competitors. Chairman Gianluigi Aponte is taking full advantage of the depressed market conditions to charter large boxships at record low rates.
Brokers have now confirmed that the Geneva-based company has chartered a series of 8,400 teu newbuildings for two years from German shipowner Norddeutsche Vermögensanlage, paying $10,000 a day for the first 12 months, and then $12,000 a day for the balance. Norddeutsche Vermögensanlage declined to comment.
In 2004, NYK fixed the Bellavia and Octavia at $37,750 per day, thought to be the most ever paid for that size ship and period, and then re-let the pair to China Shipping for 12 months at an even higher $45,000 per day.
MSC is chartering tonnage at a time when virtually every other line is off-hiring ships in an effort to reduce fleet size as demand shrinks.
A recent survey by Alphaliner found that only 1% of MSC’s fleet was idle, compared with the industry average of 9%.
MSC has also recently taken delivery of the MSC Daniela and MSC Danit, the world’s biggest with capacity of 14,000 teu.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Angry Southampton union bosses hint at industrial action

STRIKES may be on the cards at the port after a major employer announced a devastating round of redundancies.
Union bosses have hit out at container port operator DP World Southampton who have confirmed that 41 workers face the axe.
They have accused them of exploiting the recession to force through redundancies and “threaten further casualties” in the industry.
Brendan Gold, Unite national secretary said: “We will not allow an international port operator to make compulsory redundancies and ignore our stewards’ proposals. It makes the consultation process a total sham.
“I have asked to meet the company at a senior level to resolve this issue. Management should be under no illusion our members are very angry. They are prepared to do all that is necessary to protect their livelihoods and working conditions up to and including industrial action.”
He went on to say all the options put forward by the union to protect jobs were rejected out of hand.
This latest blow comes after the Daily Echo revealed the world’s largest container firm Maersk Line is pulling one of its services out of the port in favour of Felixstowe, Suffolk.
Nobody from DP World Southampton was available to comment.
Over the last few weeks the port has been hit with a number of devastating bombshells and tensions have been rising among the 12,000 people who work there.
A change to the way port rates are collected left 25 port firms with a backdated tax bill of £3.75m.
At the same time the recession has cost the waterfront nearly 50 per cent of its car handling business and hit container volumes by around a tenth.
Another threat to the port is a proposed tax hike that could mean some of its biggest customers will face a 67 per cent increase. It is feared this massive rise will force many to leave Southampton in favour of cheaper foreign ports.
The Daily Echo has launched a campaign to stop this tax proposed by transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick.
Ports bosses, shipping experts, business leaders and MPs are among those to have thrown their weight behind the drive.

Maersk moves from Southampton to rival container port Felixstowe

I blogged this 08/04/09.
Here's the full story about Maersk leaving Southampton .

SHIPPING giant Maersk has dealt another blow to Southampton’s recession-hit container port by switching business to its rival.

From May Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping firm, is to steer the massive ships on its AE1 service from Asia to Europe to Felixstowe, Suffolk, instead of Southampton.
It’s the latest in a tide of bad news flowing from the terminal, which until this year had been enjoying an unprecedented boom.

Last month the Daily Echo revealed that 60 staff were set to be axed following a drop in business.

Expansion plans at the container terminal, recently renamed DP World Southampton, which would have nearly doubled capacity have also been put on hold.

Maersk’s move will add to a slump that has already wiped at least ten per cent off the terminal’s trade.

Container lines frequently switch their business across ports and Maersk previously bought its business back to Southampton from Felixstowe in January 2006 after an eight year absence, a decision trumpeted as a coup for the city.

Maersk Line UK & Ireland operations director, Mark Cornwell said: “The new port call will enable Maersk Line to make better use of its extensive intermodal infrastructure in Felixstowe, utilising more daily train departures to a greater number of inland destinations.

“In addition, the change will achieve greater efficiencies by allowing us to take advantage of synergies with other services already calling in Felixstowe and better utilising our assets.

“Maersk Line will continue to provide a weekly service from Asian ports to Southampton via the AE21 service and maintain our positive relationship with DP World Southampton.”

Campbell Mason, managing director, DP World Southampton, said: “The shift of the AE1’s UK port of call from Southampton is of course an unwelcome change for our business.

“We will however continue to handle Maersk cargoes being carried via their sharing arrangements with other services calling at Southampton and we hope to welcome Maersk’s own services back to our terminal as reconfigurations take place in the future.”

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Rotterdam reels from cargo slump

PORT of Rotterdam has forecast a decline in throughput of 6%-10% for 2009, after posting a 10% drop in cargo volumes for the first three months of the year.

Port of Long Beach’s green terminal project gets green light

The Long Beach Board of Harbour Commissioners has unanimously given the go ahead to a US$750 million renovation project to transform two aging Port of Long Beach shipping terminals into one of the most environmentally friendly terminals in the world.
With a significant addition of railroad tracks and built-in environmental technology, the new terminal will double the cargo-moving capacity of the two existing facilities while halving air pollution from operations there.
Construction on the project, which will take ten years to complete, could begin by end-2009.
The Harbour Commission certified the 1,500-page environmental impact report/ study yesterday, and approved the permits and other documents to allow construction to begin.
Construction will be phased in, allowing cargo operations to continue at the Long Beach Container Terminal and California United Terminals.
The project will create a single 345 acre facility by merging the existing terminals and adding 51 acres of land by filling in slips, and will also add 65,000 feet of railroad track, enabling almost one-third of all the cargo at Middle Harbour to be moved by train.
Furthermore, the new green terminal will require that:
All container cargo vessels will plug into shore-side electricity and turn off their main and auxiliary engines.
All vessels will adhere to the Port's Vessel Speed Reduction Program, which will cut their fuel consumption and reduce their exhaust emissions from forty miles offshore.
All vessels will use clean-burning, low-sulphur fuels in their main and auxiliary engines.
All cargo-handling equipment at the terminal will be the cleanest available.
All trucks calling at the terminal will meet the toughest EPA emission standards.
Rail yard operations will use alternative fuels and the cleanest equipment available.

Please sign this petition

I've just signed a petition that calls on the government to put people and jobs at the heart of the economic recovery; you should sign up as well.
While the Government has poured billions into saving the banks - institutions whose recklessness caused this crisis - we’ve heard too little about protecting those suffering the consequences of the crisis - ordinary working people like you and me.
Sign the petition to tell the Government to support our jobs -

Monday, 13 April 2009

I've had a kick in the bollocks...

But I'm up and ready for the next fight. I'm not going to drown in the sea of negativity that swirls round the Port of Felixstowe. The bastards ain't going to get me down. I've grabbed hold of the driftwood that was my partner in car sharing and I'm floating towards the shore. I never thought I'd listen to a word the bloke ever said that I car share with but his words brought me out of the downward spiral pretty quick.

He reminded me about the 26 other people that did actually get off their arses and vote for me. They want me to carry on doing what I was doing. It wasn't the fact that I lost, well came third in the election, it was the fact that I'd worked my nuts off for the small minded Alzheimers sufferers that I work with...BTW I had to ask Donna what the mental disease was that made you forget everything!!!! My workmates are the best informed people on the dock. That is what I set out to do.

This morning I picked on the biggest bloke on the dock for an argument. My reasoning for this was pick on the biggest and the smallest will shut the fuck up. Well they did and he didn't rip my head off! I talked to him about the election and asked if he bothered to vote. He went on to tell me that the union was shit. I told him he's the reason the union is shit and that with people like him we wouldn't get anywhere. He had the chance to make a change and put somebody in to make that difference but he couldn't be arsed to vote. I walked away for a smoke with my head still on my shoulders.

During the day I even drafted a text to send to the convenor with my resignation. I'm glad I didn't send it.

Bring on the next fight!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Well done Mr Goodhand

Congratulations on winning the election for "A" shift shop steward.
Many thanks to the 27 people that bothered to turn out for me.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Unite to fight redundancies at Southampton dock

Unite, the UK’s biggest union, has today (Thursday) been left reeling at the news that Dubai Ports World in Southampton is to implement its plans to make 41 compulsory redundancies as a result of the downturn in trade through the port.
Unite has presented the company with a series of proposals aimed at maintaining employment for all members at Dubai Ports World, however all have been rejected out of hand by the company.
Although trade in the UK port industry is suffering due to the downturn, Unite believes that Dubai Ports World is using the current economic downturn to force through redundancies and threaten further casualties in the industry.
Brendan Gold, Unite national secretary, said: “We will not allow an international port operator to make compulsory redundancies and ignore our stewards’ proposals. It makes the consultation process a total sham.
“I have asked to meet the company at a senior level to resolve this issue. Management should be under no illusion our members are very angry. They are prepared to do all that is necessary to protect their livelihoods and working conditions up to and including industrial action.”

Portworkers to vote on pay cuts

PORTWORKERS will vote at the end of the month on whether to accept proposed pay cuts to avoid redundancies.
Union officials at the Port of Felixstowe - Britain's biggest container terminal - say they are currently studying the detail of Hutchison Ports' proposals in advance of mass meetings with the workforce next week.
Changes to contracts for all staff will mean a temporary pay cut of between six and 11 per cent for this year, depending what package people are on.
The changes include the scrapping of all bonus schemes for this year, two days compulsory unpaid leave for workers on 12-hour shifts and three days for those doing eight-hour days, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.
Convenor for the union Unite, Phil Pemberton said management had assured union officials that if the changes are accepted there will be no compulsory redundancies this year and no further changes to employees' contracts either.
“The shop stewards committee is currently looking at the detail of the proposals and we will then decide where we are going with this,” said Mr Pemberton.
“The workforce will attend mass meetings next week and will give us some feedback on how they feel.
“We will then make our response to the management, and the workforce will be balloted towards the end of the month.
“Obviously the ultimate goal for the union is to keep jobs and also to try to retain a level of terms and conditions for the workers.”
The recession has caused a downturn in business for the port which has been equivalent to losing a major customer.
It is though determined to avoid redundancies and not lose trained, skilled workers.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Maersk switches AE1 UK call from Southampton to Felixstowe

FELIXSTOWE will gain at Southampton’s expense as Maersk Line reorganises its Asia-Europe AE1 service from next month.
Felixstowe will replace Southampton as the UK port of call on the westbound AE1 from the beginning of May, and on the eastbound rotation from 1 June.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Port drops pay cut bombshell

PORTWORKERS are today being asked to accept a massive pay cut to keep Britain's biggest container terminal running - and keep their jobs.

The 2,500 management and quayside workers at Felixstowe have been told the port needs to make savings quickly with its downturn in business equal to having lost one of its major customers.

As well as a pay cut of between six and 11 per cent, other changes include the scrapping of all bonus schemes for this year, three days compulsory unpaid leave for everyone, axing of the “hot seat” changeover payments, removal of canteen subsidies, and closure of the port on Boxing Day.

The recession is biting far harder than bosses at the port - which has already shed 200 jobs this year - had expected.

Trade through the port is vital not just to Suffolk's economy but also that of the whole country - virtually everything on our shop shelves comes through the terminal.

With unemployment soaring and other families cutting back for fear of what might come, the amount of goods being imported has dropped dramatically.

But Hutchison Ports says if employees will make the sacrifice now, they will keep their jobs and the port will be in a strong position when the economy picks up again.

Some bosses will see huge drops in pay and everyone at the port will be affected. The measures will run between now and the end of the year and it is planned to return to normal in 2010.

Chief operating officer David Gledhill said: “The volume of cargo we expect to lose this year is equivalent to losing a fairly significant customer and that is something we cannot just take on the chin.

“What we are absolutely determined not to do is to have wholesale redundancies.

“What we are asking the troops today is to take some changes to their terms and conditions so we can avoid redundancies.”

“The message we are trying to convey is there is some short-term pain and we have not taken these decisions lightly.”

HOLDING on to the skills of the workforce at Felixstowe port will be vital for its future.

Bosses fear that if people are made redundant they may well not be around when the recession ends - they may have moved away or found other work.

Chief operating officer David Gledhill said it cost a great deal of money to train crane drivers and other equipment and machine operators and the port needed to keep that investment in people and skills in place. It is still pressing ahead with work on the £250 million expansion project, though it has renegotiated the payments for the work.

“The recession will end and the economy will come back - we don't know when that will be but we will be in a very good position to make the most of that when it happens,” said Mr Gledhill.

He added that the port was confident of gaining some new business this year but it would not replace the level of volume lost so far and that savings still have to be made.

He added: “So far this year we have had a number of people leave voluntarily - through voluntary redundancy, mutual terminal of their contract for a £10,000 payment, which has been attractive to some people, and sabbaticals - and there have been reduced hours.

“All these things though are not enough. They do not make the savings needed to reflect the loss in business we have had.”

Monday, 6 April 2009

Felixstowe rocks

THE Port of Felixstowe is celebrating after being named private company of the year in the Business Weekly East of England Business Awards.

The award was presented at a dinner held at Queen’s College, Cambridge.

Meanwhile, some seaside rock with a difference has been produced for Felixstowe and its sister ports’ stand at the Multimodal 2009 show in Birmingham later this mont. On the outside it’s striped blue, yellow and white. And the message on the inside? Of course, it’s Hutchison Ports UK, through and through.

Right place, wrong hard times

WHY Harwich should be listed among 10 British towns or districts worst hit by recession, with more than half of their shops empty, is a mystery.
Harwich could claim to have the most strategically advantageous location in a county that, for all its many attractions, is the butt of jokes about flat terrain and curvy girls. Cruise and ferry passengers, as well as freight, use extensive facilities at Harwich that have good rail and road connections with London and other regions.
Its shipping and other businesses face problems, of course, but the place they share is unique in diversity. Where else could you find a peninsular tip full of historic interest adjacent to a residential suburb and seasonal holiday resort where the television comedy Hi-de-Hi was filmed? Residents call it Dovercourt, but it’s still part of Harwich.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Mass meetings.

The Port of Felixstowe would like to advise customers of a series of communication meetings which have been arranged with the workforce.
The meetings are expected to last approximately 1 hour, during which time all cargo handling operations within the port will cease. In an effort to ensure Hauliers are not stranded in the container yards, it may be necessary to stop processing vehicles through the in-gates prior to commencement of the meetings.
Meeting dates;
Tuesday 14th April 0700 – 0800 hours.
Tuesday 14th April 1900 – 2000 hours.
Thursday 16th April 0700 – 0800 hours.
Saturday 18th April 0700 – 0800 hours.
We apologise in advance for any inconvenience these essential meetings may cause and please be assured every effort will be made to minimise delays.


A ballot vote will be held at the Trinity Union office on the following days/times.

Tuesday 7th April

Wed 8th April

Sat 11th April

Sun 12th April

As Phil says on the poster please make every effort to vote. Vote Andy Hussey.