A delivery driver who discovered he had lost his job watching the news on Christmas Day says his employers have left him “high and dry”.
News of the collapse of parcel delivery firm City Link was announced on Christmas Eve and will see 2,000 staff made redundant nationally.
Thornaby driver Chris Trattles, who worked at the firm’s Leeming Bar depot, only heard of the closure when a friend told him to switch on the television news on Christmas Day.
He was told not to go into work on Saturday – before a meeting at 7.30am this morning officially announced that he and his colleagues had been made redundant.
The 37-year-old, who worked for the company in two spells, said:
“They have left me and everyone else high and dry.
“We knew what was coming by the time we got to the meeting, but to lose your job this way – and especially finding out on Christmas Day.
“It has spoiled the entire festive period for me.”
Chris said that he will have to apply to the government for statutory redundancy pay, and chase for payment of overtime and unpaid holidays.
“I will have to go and sign on now,” he continued.
“Before Christmas is a busy time, but now that is out of the way January is always a quiet time in the industry so I can’t see where my next job is coming from.
“I have a seven-year-old daughter so there are bills from Christmas, I still have my lodge to pay and I run a car, but there is no more money coming in.
“I don’t know how long a claim for statutory redundancy will take – and I don’t know how I’m going to get my overtime or holiday pay.”
A statement from the company which owned City Link, Better Capital, read:
“Unfortunately the appointment of an administrator was leaked to the media ahead of the intended announcement.
“The directors very much regret the impact on the employees of City Link receiving such bad news on Christmas Day.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Better Capital boss John Moulton said the firm’s administration could not have been handled any better and said: “We chased every possible way to save this company.”
But Chris said staff should have been told earlier:
“I cannot fault the manager at my depot, who has been brilliant, but the top brass knew things were going wrong and should have communicated with staff.”
Chris worked at City Link’s old Thornaby branch for around four years before accepting administration when the depot was closed and operations moved to Durham.
He rejoined the company working from Leeming Bar around four years ago, delivering parcels across Yorkshire.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 29 Dec 2014
Could too much compassion in the welfare state hurt the very people it is supposed to help?
> How would we know ? Its never been tried….
Ed Miliband suggests that might be the case.
In a recent speech he drew on the ideas of a sociologist – Richard Sennett – who said compassion had the power to wound.
One of the Labour leader’s closest aides – the shadow minister Lord Wood – says that Sennett has made a “deep impression” on Miliband.
If the language sounds a bit academic, the reaction to Sennett’s theory at a South London woman’s group called Skills Network is anything but.
In a couple of rooms beside a railway line, women gather for training, moral support and shared childcare.
Many are single parents, some do not have permanent homes.
Most rely on the state. None trusts it.
“We are patronised by all these people that are supposed to be there for us,” says Onley.
“Anyone of official status comes to visit a family you’re almost on edge, even down to midwives after you’ve had a baby,” adds Hannah.
They are not merely sceptical of the state’s professionals, they see them as a threat.
One mother explains her experience of being visited by social workers.
“They always have a tick register in their purse and they take it out,” she says. “All these things are useless. Nothing is changing my life. In fact they’re wasting my time and their time.”
The feeling for some is not of disenchantment, but outright hostility.
Onley says: “Because you’re given something does that mean we should just lie there and take whatever you give us and don’t argue about anything or ask any questions?
“People need to be treated as equal human beings.”
Sennett blames that attitude on the way the state works. He has written: “Charity itself has the power to wound; pity can beget contempt; compassion can be intimately linked to inequality.“
> Yeah, but the biggest problem surely is not too much compassion – its not enough compassion.
Like the lack of compassion that enforces benefit sanctions that drive people to poverty and crime. Like the lack of compassion that claims that people at death’s door are fit for work.
The danger here is that the likes of Milliband (just another neo-liberal, after all) will use dodgy concepts like “too much compassion being bad for people” as a basis for more cuts.
And perhaps any sociologist who thinks “Charity itself has the power to wound; pity can beget contempt; compassion can be intimately linked to inequality”, wants to wait until they’re actually reliant on it before they start talking bollocks.
In an interview for BBC Radio 4’s the World at One programme, Wood says Labour is interested in the idea that inequality is partly about the gap in respect and power between the state, and people on the receiving end of its services and benefits.
In embracing some of Sennett’s thinking, Wood suggests Miliband intends to do things differently from the way previous Labour administrations have behaved.
“Here’s the difference with maybe Labour parties of before,” he says. “In addressing inequality you can’t just have a central state that adds up the ledger of who is doing well and who is doing not and just sort of reshuffle money around and ask people to fit certain categories that the government’s devised.
“You’ve got to think about shifting power back down as well as thinking about inequality in a deeper sense.”
> I’ve read that several times. It still seems to say exactly nothing…
That sounds a little like the critique of Gordon Brown’s attempts to deal with child poverty: that he was merely redistributing money to nudge people over a statistical line so they were no longer classed as impoverished.
Wood – who worked for Brown – does not repeat that criticism.
Pressed for examples of how his concerns translate into policy he highlights plans to hand control of parts of the work programme to some towns and cities and ideas about giving people more of a voice about where housing is built and how it’s allocated.
He argues that responsibility for policy needs to change so people affected by decisions feel they have a say.
Labour’s opponents will say that this is vague stuff.
The government argues it already understands the problem.
Ministers say they are changing the culture for benefit claimants, making their responsibilities clearer, and giving social housing tenants control of their own housing benefit.
Others will simply reflect that a focus on getting people off benefits and into jobs would sidestep many of these issues. With public money tight, officials would need to think carefully before skimping on the scrutiny they apply to the way funds are spent.
> If you wanted to be really radical, you could accept that the number of unemployed is around five times greater than the number of vacancies, and you will never get a quart into a pint pot.
Then, when you’ve got your head around this fact, then you might want to start thinking about where we go from here.
But until politicians can be honest enough to admit what the rest of us know – that there will always be more unemployed than jobs – then we’re never going to get anywhere.
Sennett is – unsurprisingly – pleased that Miliband embraces his thinking, but he doesn’t easily fit the mould of a “Miliband guru“.
He votes for the Green party and describes Miliband as “not a particularly charismatic politician” who may never have the chance to implement his idea.
And if Miliband does want to reshape Britain’s relationship with its welfare state, it won’t be easy.
In South London Hannah reflects on her encounters with its professionals.
“It’s almost like having the crocodile smile,” she says.
“You see all the smiley teeth and you’re waiting for the bite to come and get you.”
Source BBC News 17 April 2014