Representatives of workers facing wholesale job cuts as a result of Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) ‘re-organisation plans’ and members of the local community will tomorrow (June 29) present two petitions to local MP Henry Bellingham, opposing the organisation’s proposals.
The CITB is proposing to move its headquarters from Bircham Newton, Norfolk to an as yet unidentified site in Peterborough. As part of the move the CITB is proposing to outsource so-called ‘back office’ functions.
The CITB is also proposing to divest itself of its national construction college at Bircham Newton and other sites in the UK, which organises many unique training courses. The organisation hopes to outsource this training but if it is unable to find a provider this training could close.
Once the CITB’s plans are completed in 2020 the organisation estimates that its headcount will have been slashed from 1,370 to just 484.
The first petition has been organised by the CITB’s employees and Unite, and has attracted 350 signatures. The second petition organised by the local community has attracted 1,500 people who have objected to the plans.
Unite and employee representatives have put forward reasoned, detailed counter-proposals which would still achieve the changes the CITB’s board believe are required, however these have been dismissed without proper consideration.
“Our members believe that a move to Peterborough or anywhere else will result in the creation of a huge skills gap which will damage the training received by construction workers,” said Unite regional co-ordinating officer Mark Robinson.
“Our members’ concerns are reflected in the concerns of the local community. They recognise that the CITB plays a crucial role in north west Norfolk. The loss of such a large number of jobs will have a devastating effect on the local economy.
“Employees have tabled well thought out counter-proposals which meet the challenges the CITB’s board has identified. These proposals have been arrogantly dismissed out of hand.
“It seems that the board is committed to destroying an organisation that has been serving the construction industry for many years.
“Once again we urge the board to think again and scrap these plans, not only for its hard working staff, but the local economy and the construction industry.”