MP urges talks on future of the Docks

By Stephen Ivall

THE 350 Falmouth Docks shopfloor workers should know within five weeks who will be in or out of a job by the summer.

As news of 130 redundancies began to sink in this week, talks were going on between staff and management as part of the consultation process.

Falmouth MP Seb Coe said he was told in advance of the redundancies but not of the numbers. He was not keen on the way it was announced. He was now seeking an urgent meeting with management about the whole future of the docks.

"This is not just about 130 lost pay packets," he said.

He expressed concern for the future of unions in the docks who were, he added, very sensible and realistic.

The job losses have stunned the town. They were something group managing director Stephen Jervis did not wish to see happen but which he found were necessary.

In an exclusive interview with the Packet this week, Mr Jervis said the future of Falmouth Docks depended on the redundancies together with an upturn in ship repair. They could not afford to keep everyone with so little work.

He hoped with a reduced workforce the docks would be profitable.

"I have to view it not as 130 people going but with the 300 which are left and their employment for the future as well as work for the casuals," said Mr Jervis.

Getting rid of 130 staff was not something he wanted, but he had to make sure there was a long-term future.

"I am doing the best for the business as I see it. There is no other intention or hidden agenda as far as I am concerned," he said.

With a new shopfloor workforce of 224 and a staff of 69, he felt there was a good future for the docks.

He hoped those losing their jobs who still wanted to work in the docks would join the list of casual workers.

While officially the consultation process could take three months, Mr Jervis hoped it could be concluded in six weeks.

Mr Jervis wants Falmouth to promote what it was good at – ship repair and port business. The proposed ferry terminal was still important but he did not see it as a major passenger terminal.

"My job is to put an infrastructure in place and get it to work," said Mr Jervis. He had to increase Falmouth's market share in that area rather than diversify into other areas such as yacht or boat building.

Mr Coe hoped for a meeting with management at which they would put their cards on the table.

Hopes high for casualty unit

HOPES are now high that Falmouth will have a casualty department in the future and a public meeting is to be held in June to discuss the issue.

Leading campaigner George Greene said he was confident. On Monday he arrived at the meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly district and Family Health Authorities to hand over a 10,000-name petition calling for the re-opening of the unit in the town. It has been closed for almost seven years.

The petition was handed over to Dr Stan Dennison, joint chairman.

Mr Greene, a Labour member of the town and district council, said the petition represented people from all parties who had supported the campaign all along.

He was not calling for a full-blown casualty unit but something to deal with smaller problems.

Mayor to seek extra policing

By Stephen Ivall

Talks are expected to take place between Falmouth's mayor Geoffrey Evans and new police chiefs to see what man power allocation is planned for Falmouth in future.

The go ahead has also been given to the mayor to discuss proper security of the town hall with owners Carrick Council whose responsibility it is.

The move follows the rumpus three weeks ago when the town clerk Mr Eric Dawkins and his wife were accosted and attacked by youths as they arrived at the town hall for a reception.

The incident brought immediate calls for better policing in the town.

At a meeting of the town council on Friday Mr Dawkins suggested that the front doors of the town hall be kept locked in the evenings and if the public wish to attend to be in their seats before the start of any meeting.

It was obvious that such a building was open to vandalism as had been seen, said Mr Dawkins.

But it will be the meeting between the mayor and police chiefs that is expected to be tense. Falmouth councillors and residents have regularly expressed their views as to the policing in Falmouth and the lack of a police station in the town.

They were even more annoyed when told last week that the site for a new police station had still not been obtained.

On Monday Falmouth was brought into the revised police division known as G division and controlled from Truro under Eddie Hallett.

Councillors now want to know just what police man power will be available in Falmouth particularly for the summer season.

In the meantime police are taking action following the fracas two weeks ago and have had discussions with the owners of the amusement arcade and pool hall nearby.