Jan 19 2011 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Wednesday
MORE than 100 jobs at a company providing admin support for the Stirling area’s biggest private sector employer look set to go by the end of the year.
The Observer was contacted over the weekend by several employees who say they were delivered the shock news at a meeting last Friday.
The staff involved work for Williams Lea at Craigforth, providing mail sorting, scanning and other services for the Prudential insurance giant.
However Williams Lea lost its contract to another company, RR Donnelley, last November and it was this firm that delivered the blow ahead of officially taking over operations in May.
A multi-national concern, staff have apparently been told that mail sorting, opening, scanning and batching functions will transfer to an alternative RR Donnelley site in Lancing in West Sussex from July, while indexation and categorisation work will transfer to Asia in November.
It’s also understood that microfiching work has been transferred to a third party firm, though details of what exactly this will mean for current employees still haven’t been resolved.
A review of other services has been scheduled for November and the changes are understood to affect around 130 staff in total.
One employee who contacted the Observer blasted not just the decision but also the way it had been made.
Describing last week’s presentation as “amateurish, to say the least” the employee said: “There was a whole spiel about what a great company RR Donnelley is, all about their policies on health and safety and so on and then, about page 11 of their presentation, it was ‘oh and all these jobs are going down south from July.’
“We had known something was probably going to happen ever since the contract change - these things are always about saving money after all.
“We thought some jobs might go to Glasgow or Edinburgh with some jobs shaved, but not on this scale.
“One girl said at the end ‘I hope you don’t expect us to train up the people who are taking over our jobs’ but we were told that, yes, we would need to do that.
“Everybody is just kind of wandering about now, just trying to fathom it all out.”
Although there is no official union recognition within the company it is understood several employees are members of Unite and a representative is due to meet with them this week.
Stirling MP Anne McGuire said: “In this current economic climate it is to be regretted that a substantial number of jobs at Williams Lea based at the Prudential site at Craigforth are to go.
“What is doubly regretful and no doubt adding to those real concerns of those currently employed at Williams Lea is that many of these jobs will not only be moving out of Stirling but many will be outsourced to Asia later this year.
“I imagine that for those who hoped that PM David Cameron’s promise that the private sector would be looking to pick up on any job losses, this comes as a double blow.”
And she added: “I understand that the union, Unite, is meeting its members tomorrow (Thursday) and I will be offering any support I can to mitigate this decision that has left the staff of Williams Lea uncertain of their future.”
The Observer did contact RR Donnelley for comment, but none was available at the time of going to press.