Marconi staff call on board to quit following job cuts

Marconi workers called for the board to be sacked at the AGM in London this week after the firm announced 4,000 job losses earlier this month.

Marconi workers called for the board to be sacked at the AGM in London this week.The call comes after the firm announced 4,000 job losses earlier this month, and a disastrous trading year in which Marconi’s share price dropped 90%.

On Wednesday the price had fallen to a low of 99.8p, from a high in the past 12 months of 1250p.

The decision to close its Poole research and development centre and cut 1,000 jobs from other UK sites led to a demonstration outside the meeting by members of the MSF union. Inside board members were heckled, but remained unrepentant about the cuts.

MSF general secretary Roger Lyons, who led the demonstration, suggested the union would support strike action if compulsory redundancies were made.

‘It’s tragic that this should happen. We will not accept a single compulsory redundancy at Marconi. One compulsory redundancy will be treated as a national attack on the workforce.’

Dorset’s senior MSF representative, senior engineer Chris Rocha, said members were angry but played down any prospect of a strike there. However, workers at Poole staged a walkout on Tuesday in protest.

‘I don’t think [a strike] would be likely. The firm has to discuss a recovery plan with workers. Key to that recovery is the confidence of the workforce,’ he said.

Marconi announced this month that the Dorset site will close with the loss of about 570 jobs.

The first tranche, some 320 workers, will be made redundant in October, with the remainder going in December and March.

The job losses form part of a worldwide restructuring at Marconi to cut costs following a global slump in the electronics market.

The 4,000 redundancies were announced on 4 July. The statement also said that sales for the last financial year would be 15% lower than last year and the operating profit could drop by 50%, triggering a collapse in the share price.

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