Agency staff are the easiest of whipping boys as the recession bites. If the workers at BMW's Mini plant in Cowley, Oxfordshire thought they were unique in receiving an hour's notice of their dismissals, they may be interested to hear of the fate that has befallen 20 agency staff at the Fujitsu plant in Netherton here on Merseyside. The notice they got? Thirty minutes. Yes, half an hour (http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liverpool-news/local-news/2009/02/18/outcry-as-staff-sacked-with-half-an-hour-s-notice-100252-22953746/ ).
Like their counterparts at Cowley, the sacked workers are not eligible for redundancy pay, despite their length of service at Fujitsu (the Echo tells of some who have worked there for eight years). The article also relates:
"Last night Walton Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle said it was 'disgraceful' the way consecutive governments has promoted employers' rights over those of employees."
The uncomfortable reality for Kilfoyle & his parliamentary colleagues, however, is that this sort of thing is permitted, even encouraged, by New Labour; Kilfoyle prides himself on the expulsions of Militant members in this part of the world two decades ago. Only thing is that led, in turn, to the creation of New Labour (or "the Project", as Peter Mandelson referred to it).
Still, at least Kilfoyle is saying something about the Fujitsu job losses & the manner in which they have taken place. The Netherton plant doesn't lie in his constituency. It lies in the seat of Bootle Labour MP Joe Benton, who, as is his wont, maintains a Trappist silence on the matter. If it doesn't involve the "right to life" or "family values", good old Joe will keep schtum.
For what it's worth, the article mentions a TUC website calling for fair treatment of agency staff on Merseyside: http://www.fairtoagencyworkers.org/ . The words "stable-door, "bolted" & "horse" come to mind.