Ex-Alcan staff in pay battle after plant’s closure

HUNDREDS of ex-Alcan staff are in a battle to get a final pay-off from their former employers.

Employment tribunal proceedings are believed to have been launched by the GMB Union on behalf of those who lost their jobs at Rio Tinto Alcan when the company closed the Lynemouth plant in early 2012.

Union officials say the company failed to carry out adequate or proper consultation with staff when it announced the aluminium smelter would close.

The plant employed 515 people at the time. A total of 323 were made redundant in the first phase of job loses in May 2012, while 60 workers remained on site after the closure of all operations to work on decommissioning, remediation and economic development.

Union chiefs are hoping to settle the claim before a full employment tribunal is necessary.

A GMB spokesman said: “The GMB currently has a protective award claim lodged in tribunal against Rio Tinto Alcan.

“I can say that we are hoping to settle this claim with the employer, but can offer no further comments due to confidentiality.”

The smelter opened in 1972, but was closed due to rising energy costs.

Last month, the Crown Estate bought Rio Tinto’s 4,500-acre agriculture land portfolio, leading to the eight remaining farm workers being made redundant.

The Alcan farms portfolio, which includes agricultural land, farm buildings, 19 homes and an operational 13-turbine windfarm leased to Scottish Power Renewables, has been managed by Alcan Farms since 1972 after the land was acquired by Rio Tinto as part of the development of the former Lynemouth aluminium smelter.