Theresa Villiers’ suggestion that workers set to lose their jobs move to Mumbai adds insult to injury - Maria Eagle

Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, responding to reports that Transport Minister Theresa Villiers MP has suggested that East Coast Rail call centre workers now facing redundancy move to India to find work, said:

“Theresa Villiers’ suggestion that workers set to lose their jobs move to Mumbai adds insult to injury.

“This is yet another example of Transport Ministers showing little regard for British jobs. After awarding the Thameslink contract to build rail carriages to a factory in Germany, the Department for Transport is now willing to let the call centre jobs go to India.

“Transport Ministers are being reckless with the British jobs that they are responsible for. These call centre workers work for the East Coast rail franchise which the Department for Transport has now taken over.

“The buck must stop with Theresa Villiers and her fellow Ministers in this Tory-led Government. They should be offering support for those who risk losing their jobs rather than making ridiculous suggestions that they move to India.”


Councillor Henri Murison, Newcastle City Council's Cabinet Member for Quality of Life said:

"These comments demonstrate just how out of touch this government is. These jobs are being lost on their watch.

Theresa Villers comments are insensitive and underline how little this government values jobs in Newcastle and the North East. In the Eighties, Norman Tebbit famously told those losing jobs to get on their bikes, now it seems Theresa Villiers is asking people to get on planes."


Editor’s notes:

1. The closure of the call centre in Newcastle was announced on 21 April 2011.

2. In a letter sent to Liberal Democrat MP Sir Alan Beith, Theresa Villiers MP, Minister of State for Transport, stated that under  Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) workers at the Newcastle call centre could transfer to the company who had won the contract. In this case, that would mean a move to Mumbai for many workers.
3. The East Coast rail franchise is operated by Directly Operated Rail, part of the Department for Transport. Directly Operated Rail took over the franchise in November 2009