No SSI cash for Boulby workers facing the axe

Boulby mine.
Boulby mine.

The 230 staff facing redundancy at Boulby potash mine will not benefit from taskforce money created to help workers who were made redudant from SSI in Redcar in 2015.

The bitter blow came after the Government announced that the cash cannot be repurposed to help workers at Boulby, but has agreed to make exceptional provision so that the flexibility around retraining that was offered to SSI workers will be extended to them.

MP for East Cleveland, Simon Clarke said: “The fact we’ve secured flexibility around retraining is really important - this made what taskforce Chief Executive Amanda Skelton described last week as a ‘critical’ difference in supporting former SSI workers.

“It’s usually the case that anyone on job seeker’s allowance who is training for more than 16 hours a week sees their benefits reduce – that won’t happen in this case and this will ensure everyone can go and reskill, or gain certification, without worrying about losing money.”

He added: “Ensuring every single person who loses their job at Cleveland Potash receives the best possible opportunity to train and find work is my top priority.”

Anna Turley, MP for Redcar, also expressed her disappointment at the decision: “I am deeply disappointed that they turned down our request. That is a bad decision which will mean Boulby workers will not have access to the same funding for retraining.”

The loss of jobs at Boulby is a devastating blow for an area described as a a “difficult place for well-paying jobs” by Mr Clarke.

The SSI task force was established after more than 2,000 people lost their jobs at the Redcar plant in 2015.

The news of job losses at the mine near Staithes came following an announcement in January that the mine was shifting its focus from the production of potash to polyhalite.

The prime minister pledged last month that the Government will work to offer “the best possible support” to those affected.

Will the job losses affect you? Email editorial@whitbygazette.co.uk.