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‘The boss chased us along platform’

END OF THE LINE: David Maddocks, Michael McCormick and Mark Scott are three of the five railway workers who are angry about the way their redundancy has been handled

END OF THE LINE: David Maddocks, Michael McCormick and Mark Scott are three of the five railway workers who are angry about the way their redundancy has been handled

ANGRY railway workers have hit out at the way government has handled their redundancy.

Some say they were denied union representation and they refused to accept the formal notification from the railways boss Ian Longworth.

Two claim they were chased by Mr Longworth along a platform after they refused to accept the redundancy letter.

Five workers based on the Manx Electric Railway and Isle of Man Steam Railway were told on Thursday they were losing their jobs.

Mark Scott, aged 36, a blacksmith and welder based at the Steam Railway for 13 years, refused to meet Mr Longworth without union representation or with a colleague. He claimed Mr Longworth told him he didn’t need that.

When Mr Scott, of Heywood Grove, Onchan, refused to meet alone, Mr Scott said Mr Longworth positioned managers to try to block his exit from the premises.

When he left, Mr Scott claimed Mr Longworth chased him along the platform at Douglas Railway Station with a job pack.

Mr Scott said: ‘Being chased up the platform and being thrust a job pack is not how I thought my employment would end.’

He said he was told he would be sacked on the spot if he left the premises – but when he returned to work was told by a manager to leave the premises.

Gary Paterson-Steel, 48, of Governor’s Hill, Douglas, was a blacksmith on the MER for 20 years.

He claimed he was told by Mr Longworth he didn’t have a right to union representation.

When he refused to accept the job pack and walked out of the office, he said he was chased down the stairs by Mr Longworth.

‘It was quite a threatening experience,’ he said.

Mr Scott, a single parent with a 19-year-old daughter studying her A-levels, said he was worried he wouldn’t be able to pay for her to go to university or college.

‘I was going to struggle, and use my life savings, but obviously that was on the proviso I had income coming in. She’s absolutely devastated.’

Michael McCormick, of Ramsey, a sign writer and coach painter on the Manx Electric Railway for almost 20 years, said: ‘They have made me redundant under the title of early retirement. I’m at a loss how they expect me to retire at 54.’

He said he took out a mortgage and loans three years ago on the basis of being a government employee.

He said talk of redeployment was ‘farcical’, claiming he found out two hours before an interview for another department job that it was earmarked for someone else.

He claimed he was told by Mr Longworth he wasn’t entitled to union representation.

The Whitley Council employees’ side said Community, Culture and Leisure Minister David Cretney MHK sanctioned the workers being locked out from their work by Mr Longworth.

In addition, it said he sanctioned the removal of their right to appeal, to be retrained and to be accompanied.

Mr Cretney said he was informed of the views of the five workers when he met them on Thursday evening.

‘I find it hard to see how I can be accused of sanctioning something that I was not aware of until after it happened,’ he said.

‘It is normal for employees who have been made redundant to be asked to leave the workplace.

‘Whilst this is a deeply regrettable situation for all concerned, I can see that it is best if employees are given time to collect any personal belongings and then asked to leave.’

Mr Cretney said government policy didn’t make specific provision for appeal. But he said it was agreed on Friday there would be an appeal mechanism.

He denied he had sanctioned the removal of the right to retraining, saying one railway worker had successfully applied for a different role which required training and development.

He said the meetings were ‘a direct alternative to the posting of a redundancy notice’.

‘I feel that it is far preferable that such things are done face to face,’ he said.

‘As this is clearly the provision of information rather than any form of negotiation or hearing there is no need for formal representation.’

 

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