Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has given a guarded welcome to a commitment made today (Wednesday 17 July) by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca to provide funding to ensure workers at its former site in Avonmouth, Bristol, receive their full redundancy payments.

The 230 strong workforce were transferred to a separate pharmaceutical company Avara Avlon in December 2016.  At the time the workforce received a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that if the company went into administration within three years their enhanced redundancy rights would be protected and paid by AstraZeneca if needed.

In administration

Avara entered administration in February but AstraZeneca had initially failed to make good its guarantee on paying its former employees the enhanced redundancy payments.

AstraZeneca has now confirmed that the company will pay the enhanced redundancy payments which will cost £12 million. The funding will be placed into an independent fund and so will be separate from other creditors.

Unite is still seeking clarification on certain aspects of pension provision commitments which are linked to the redundancy commitment.

Commitment delivered?

Unite regional secretary Steve Preddy said: “Unite is pleased that AstraZeneca has delivered on its commitment to its former workforce, many of whom worked for the company for most of their working lives.

“In a grim situation where workers are losing their jobs through no fault of their own, they now have the comfort that they will be paid the correct redundancy payments.

“This is yet another example of why it pays to be part of a union that stands up for its members and does not shirk when faced by multi-nationals.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.