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Unions protest at floods jobs axe

Union activists will today stage a protest outside a meeting at which they fear details will be given of plans to press ahead with redundancies at the Environment Agency.

The GMB said an amended timetable for 1,700 job losses will be laid out despite assurances from the Prime Minister that no jobs would be lost while the flooding crisis continued.

The agency has announced that any redundancies have been suspended, but unions believe the position will change as soon as the flooding recedes.

GMB official Paul Maloney said: "GMB is calling this protest because last week's EA announcement that consultation on redundancies has been put on hold is a sham.

"This meeting shows that the EA is pressing on with the 1,700 redundancies as soon as the floods have receded. Management wants the meeting to discuss how the delay in consultation impacts on the timetable for job losses.

"This is a ludicrous state of affairs - have government learned nothing from the current floods?

"At the root of the current flooding crisis are successive years of central government cuts that have trimmed maintenance budgets to unsustainable levels.

"What we need to see now is a clear commitment from Government to stop the redundancy process and to take the job cuts off the table.

"This should be in favour of an independent inquiry into what are the realistic funding levels necessary to ensure the EA has both the capital budget to protect the country from flooding and drought and a big enough revenue budget to maintain, service and run these vital defences."


From Belfast Telegraph