West Coast Stevedoring Company

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 16th December 1982.

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Photo of Mr Robert Parry Mr Robert Parry , Liverpool Scotland Exchange 4:24 pm, 16th December 1982

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the decision of the West Coast Stevedoring Company to cease operations in the port of Liverpool at the end of this month, causing further unemployment on Merseyside and the redeployment of registered dock workers and placing further financial burdens on the Merseyside Docks and Harbour Company. The matter is specific. It means that 55 ancillary workers will have to seek other jobs. Also, 275 registered dock workers will have to be relocated with other companies within the port under the Jones-Aldington agreement. It will mean deploying 186 to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. The dock company, at Government insistence, has recently given severance payments to thousands of dock workers. Only yesterday, in reply to a planted question, the Government stated clearly that there will be no further grants to the port of Liverpool after the end of this year.

The matter is important. One of the major reasons given by the company for the decision is the adverse effects caused to the company's trading by the Falklands crisis earlier this year. The Export Credits Guarantee Department, a Government agency, has started to meet claims by companies affected by the economic sanctions taken against Argentina.

The matter is urgent. If the company has made an application to the Government and that application has been considered, there is need for a debate. The company is owned by that super tax fiddler, Lord Vestey. Although his company may not need the money, we in Liverpool badly need the jobs.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that in view of the points that I have outlined you will grant my application.