Over 300 workers from the Markinch paper mill Tullis Russell met in Glenrothes yesterday (April 30) with emotions running high following 325 shock redundancies earlier this week after company directors plunged the famous firm into administration.
The workers, shamefully informed of the job losses early last Monday morning with phone calls and messages without any consultation, are now demanding answers from absent directors who claimed only last month that jobs were ‘safeguarded’.
Unite has also highlighted that the redundancies are the last straw for workers’ rights in Britain, who are among the easiest to fire in the European Union, and have called for the urgent strengthening of redundancy laws early in the next UK parliament.
“Let’s be clear that Tullis Russell directors have serious questions to answer about how this company was so suddenly plunged into administration and the workers want answers,” said Unite regional officer Dougie Maguire.
“This is a heart-breaking situation where the workforce have turned out in their hundreds, shocked and victims of a hopeless employment law system and a group of directors who didn’t give a second thought to throwing them on the dole,” he added.
“Yesterday was also about ensuring our members get the best legal advice possible in the wake of this shock announcement, but it’s small crumbs of comfort because people want to be working, not dealing with this situation,” Maguire went on to say.
Maguire also highlighted management’s hypocrisy, considering Tullis Russell is an “employee-owned” company.
He explained to The Courier on Wednesday (April 29) that the company had sent mixed messages over the future of the mill and suggested that management was not being entirely truthful.
“If they can’t be honest with [employees], who are in essence the shareholders, how honest are they being?” he said.
“Our immediate priority now is our involvement on the Scottish government task force and if there is any possibility that we can save these jobs – we will explore every option,” Maguire added.