GSK Ulverston workers are facing their ‘most difficult period yet’ as the company gears up to make redundancy plans a reality, an MP has warned.
But Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said that unions and staff were working overtime to give people the chance of alternative employment, after he chaired a meeting of the GSK taskforce at the company’s Ulverston headquarters this afternoon (Friday).
And the independent MP urged local firms to come forward for the chance to employ graduates of GSK’s award winning apprenticeship scheme, which is continuing to train up young people despite job numbers on site being reduced.
In July 2017 the company announced it was not proceeding with a planned £350m biopharmaceutical expansion at its North Lonsdale Road factory – and last October GSK it said 191 of its staff were at risk of redundancy.
Following this afternoon’s meeting, which was also attended by neighbouring MP Tim Farron, Mr Woodcock said: “This was a difficult meeting because it was clear that GSK is about to move into the phase where the job cuts are going to get real for individuals and people are going to go from a period of general uncertainty to particular individuals being told they are being made redundant.
“But it was heartening to see the amount of work which is going on to make sure there is a proper employment support fund for people who want to try to get other jobs.”
He added: “Amid this very difficult time, we should highlight there is potentially a great opportunity for smaller firms to boost their workforce with one of the graduates of GSK’s award-winning apprenticeship scheme. We need to get the message out that to firms that may not have felt able to take on their own apprentice that GSK is continuing to train up young people to their execptionally high standards then place them with other firms if their is no space in the company immediately available.
But aside from that promising news, we are under no illusions that we are going to go through a difficult few months and we will be working really hard to make sure as many people as possible get the support they need – both from the company and the wider area.”