Pay cut deal to avoid job losses

STAFF at a leading Suffolk haulage company have been forced to take a 10% pay cut in a bid to stave off the threat of redundancy. More than 120 managers, staff and drivers at Leggett's Transport have all accepted the drop in pay as the under-pressure industry feels the full force of the national economic downturn.

STAFF at a leading Suffolk haulage company have been forced to take a 10% pay cut in a bid to stave off the threat of redundancy.

More than 120 managers, staff and drivers at Leggett's Transport have all accepted the drop in pay as the under-pressure industry feels the full force of the national economic downturn.

Bosses at the renowned family-run company, in Woolpit, near Bury St Edmunds, last night said they had no choice, but praised the reaction of staff who had their pay cut.

Roy Leggett, sales manager, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly and we actually looked at every area of costs to see if there was any other improvements.


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“Some staff had already taken voluntary redundancy but this is designed to ensure no else has to leave the company. The problems started to come in the autumn and then there was this sudden drop after Christmas.”

The problems within the industry have come as the number of trucks on the A14 has decreased significantly because of the recession.

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With people spending less - either through belt-tightening and fear of the future, or redundancy - shops are suffering, selling less and ordering fewer goods meaning there is less need for hauliers.

Imports through Felixstowe, Britain's biggest container port, are down 16 to 20 per cent, and some haulage firms have gone bust.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says the number of HGV drivers out of work is up by 236%, transport managers up by 114% and van drivers up 60%.

But Mr Leggett said there was a glimmer of hope with work starting to pick up a little. He explained: “These are very tough times and we are doing all we can to keep our business going forward.

“We started in the 1960s and we saw the drivers' strike of the 1970s, the fuel crisis of the 80s and the mini-recessions of the 90s, but while we knew this one was coming it was so much more violent when it arrived. I like to be a little optimistic and business has picked up a little bit since Easter.”

Mr Leggett said his company was diversifying in order to boost business and had opened a county council-approved 24-hour truckstop next to the A14 at Woolpit with overnight facilities, truck wash and maintenance.

The FTA said nationally there had been a marked increase in redundancies in the haulage and logistics sector in the first quarter of 2009.

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