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MP urges government to back dockers

PUBLISHED: 10:40 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:21 03 July 2010

GREAT Yarmouth MP Tony Wright used Prime Minister's Questions yesterday to urge the government to back the port's last 11 dockers who are facing redundancy.

GREAT Yarmouth MP Tony Wright used Prime Minister's Questions yesterday to urge the government to back the port's last 11 dockers who are facing redundancy.

Mr Wright made the point that when the national dock labour scheme, which secured dockers' employment, was abolished 20 years ago, the government of the day pledged it would not mean the dangerous work being undertaken by casual staff.

However, port bosses at EastPort UK have announced their intention to replace the last dockers with casual workers.

Satisfied by deputy prime minister Harriet Harman's pledge to raise the issue with relevant ministers, Mr Wright said: “I have today also sent a letter to Eddie Freeman, the chief executive of EastPort, expressing my concerns.”

He said there had been a great deal of public involvement and public money in the £80m outer harbour venture and the goal had always been concerned with creating jobs.

“The Health and Safety Executive will say dockwork is one of the most dangerous land-based industries. It should be a job for professionals with the skills to operate the machinery,” he added.

Meanwhile, Unite members and workers from the port will be joined by colleagues from across the country today to protest about the dismissal of Yarmouth dockers outside the port's South Quay offices at 4.30pm.

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