Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Redundancy threat at Portsmouth's MMD Shipping Services Ltd

MMD Shipping Services Ltd Image copyright Google
Image caption The council said it was consulting employees at MMD Shipping Services Ltd over contract changes.

Workers at a shipping cargo company could face redundancy over plans to change working practices.

Owners Portsmouth City Council confirmed it had formally notified the government over potential job losses at MMD Shipping Services Ltd in Portsmouth.

The authority said it was consulting more than 100 employees at the firm but no job losses were planned.

The RMT union said it would be "disappointed" to see any redundancies.

The authority said changes to working hours and staff terms and conditions would make the company "sustainable and viable".

It refused to say what would happen if new terms to contracts were rejected.

'Needs to be competitive'

The council took over the cargo-handling firm in 2008 in order to prevent cargo vessels going elsewhere, which could have put the authority at risk of losing income it receives as owner of Portsmouth International Port.

Council deputy leader Luke Stubbs said changes to terms would bring the company in line with the rest of the industry.

"This is an entity owned by the council to generate funds and provide local employment - to do that it needs to be competitive," he said.

"I'm very confident at the end of that we'll come to agreement with unions and staff and we'll be able to continue to operate this business for the benefit of all."

He said he was "not expecting" strike action which would be "very damaging for the company".

The RMT, which has members at the firm, said it would expect any employer to behave reasonably over job losses.

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