Takeover: MSPs meet Forth Ports union

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, and her Mid Scotland and Fife colleague John Park, have met with Unite officials to discuss the bid by the Northstream consortium for control of Forth Ports.

Unite stated its belief that Forth Ports, which is not for sale, should not have to defend itself against predatory action by the Northstream consortium; and that Forth Ports, as a successful, profitable company that has delivered for all stakeholders including its workers, should not be forced into a position where it is taken over.

Cathy said that she shared the union’s concerns about the potential problems that could arise:

“The union has major concerns about the make up of the consortium, which includes rival port operator Peel Ports, who have a history of employing staff on zero hours contracts. Unite fear Peel may end up in control of the day-to-day operations should a takeover go ahead.

“Unite also believes that the takeover of Forth Ports by Peel is not in the public interest, as it will have a far too dominant position, controlling the overwhelming majority of Scotland’s coastal import and export operations in the main industrial and economic heartland.

“Forth Ports are clearly not seeking this attention, and the workforce are very apprehensive about what it would lead to. I share their concerns and will raise the issues with my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament and at Westminster.”

Julia Long, Unite national officer for docks and waterways, said:

“We believe that if this bid is successful, it will be to the detriment of our members and Scottish economic interests. We are extremely concerned that this will lead to an increased casualisation of the workforce and significant job losses.

“This is another example of how a national, profitable asset can pass into problematic ownership because of predatory bidding. Our main concern is for our 700 members who are fearing that their jobs and terms and conditions will be on the line.

“Unite and Labour MSPs will consequently be jointly pursuing avenues towards ensuring this potential change in ownership is looked at seriously due to its anti-competitive nature.”

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