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CITB accused over redundancies at West Norfolk base

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Bosses of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have been accused of “outsourcing” redundancies of workers from their West Norfolk base.

The claim comes after senior officials admitted they had given inaccurate information over the number of workers laid off from the Bircham Newton site.

New questions have been raised about the CITB’s conduct after it was revealed last week that a task group set up to examine future use of the Bircham Newton site hasn’t met for 10 months.

CITB Bircham
CITB Bircham

Responding to questions from the Lynn News about that and the status of workers based there, the CITB claimed 65 had transferred to its new headquarters in Peterborough, with around 300 switching to new employers and only six being made redundant.

But they subsequently admitted the latter figure was wrong and said it should have been 47.

Braden Connolly, the CITB’s director of products and services, apologised for the error and said: “One of our priorities in transferring administrative operations from Bircham Newton to Peterborough has been minimising redundancies through offering alternative roles to as many staff as possible.

“We will continue with this approach in 2020.”

But two former staff have contacted the Lynn News this week alleging they were transferred to other employers, only to then be made redundant.

One, who asked not to be named, said he was among dozens of staff who were transferred to another company under what are known as TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations last Friday and then made redundant the next day.

He said: “They’re getting other companies to do their dirty work for them.”

Another said she was among the 300 who had been transferred to an alternative employer only to then be laid off after more than 15 years of work.

She alleged the CITB had “full knowledge” that would happen, while union leaders have also accused them of “outsourcing” a redundancy programme.

Mr Connolly admitted the CITB had been “aware” some redundancies would follow the latest transfer of work, because of where the work was being moved to.

But he added: “It’s for this reason that CITB provided outplacement support, even though CITB was not the party making them redundant.

“Some of these staff have taken up other roles with CITB in Peterborough and NOCN in King’s Lynn, and others may yet return to support some of the CITB work undertaken at Bircham Newton.”

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