Bid to save doomed energy firm site

A TRADE union has today launched a campaign to keep the doomed E.ON site open.Prospect announced plans to save more than 330 jobs at Wherstead Park, Ipswich, after the German-owned power giant confirmed it was closing.

A TRADE union has today launched a campaign to keep the doomed E.ON site open.

Prospect announced plans to save more than 330 jobs at Wherstead Park, Ipswich, after the German-owned power giant confirmed it was closing.

The union has also pledged to improve redundancy packages after it was revealed the pay-offs were reduced just one week before news of the closure was announced.

The move meant workers would miss out on around £600,000 in compensation.

Richard Hardy, Prospect negotiator, said: “Our members are angry and disappointed about both these announcements.

“It adds injury to insult to cut your redundancy terms one week and announce job losses the next.

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“If the Wherstead workers had been made redundant last week they would have received a total of £2.5million in compensation. Under the new terms this would only amount to £1.9m.

“This cynical handling of staff is disgusting and not the way that you would expect a major multi-national company to behave.”

Prospect, which represents engineers, specialists and professional staff in the electricity industry, will now undertake a study of the company's business case and consult members and other stakeholders.

Mr Hardy added that during this 90-day consultation process the union will have two aims; to campaign to keep the site open and “protect and improve severance terms” for all staff.

E.ON claims Wherstead Park is too distant from its core business and too expensive to maintain. It will be centralising its business sales and service teams in Coventry.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We will be consulting with our union representatives and employees about the changes and will be exploring all options to minimise the impact of the change.”

They also said they would support the 339 people currently employed at the site in finding new roles at different locations within E.ON or alternative employment elsewhere.

The closure also calls into question the long term future of E.ON's sponsorship of Ipswich Town Football Club. A spokesperson for the club said they had entered into confidential discussions with the company.