Love Lane Lives

The history of sugar in Liverpool and the effects of the closure of the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery, Love Lane

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“Natural Wastage” and the Age Structure of Love Lane Liverpool Refinery

Written by Ron Noon at 14:06 on Sunday, February 07th 2021

“The dole queue on Merseyside, already one of the longest in Europe, is about to be stretched farther by the decision of Tate & Lyle to close its sugar refinery in Liverpool.” The Economist 31.1.1981

“Elderly workers get 90 day redundancy notices” 

I remember Albert and John suggesting to me when I started looking through the voluminous documents they had accumulated over what was effectively a ten year struggle to try and keep the Lane open (the first rumour of closure was in 1971) they said to try and locate a document that was written by the City Planning Officer for the City Chief Executive, written a few days after the issuing of the 90 day redundancy notices. The documents were in no “order” so the eventual find was serendipitous but here’s part of what I transcribed which adds words to the picture above.

Age: Tate & Lyle have been in Liverpool for over 100 years and were well known for job security and paternalism, which has encouraged long service employment. The company has not recruited labour .of all ages over recent years and this has led to an overall increase in the age of the workforce. The Vauxhall Community Development Project (CDP) surveyed the age pattern of workers at the plant in 1973 and found that the average age of hourly paid workers (men and women)was 42years, and average length of service 14 years. Staff and management were even older with an average age of 44 years and service of 20 years. More than half the male process workers were aged 45 years or more. (See Figure 2). Consequently, the company has been able to reduce its workforce by natural wastage over recent years. However, it now means that the prospects of working again are gloomy for older workers, since they are at a disadvantage in the job market and through family.and home commitments have less propensity to move elsewhere in search of work. Long term unemployment is a serious possibility for older redundant workers; of 7,436 males aged 45 years and over registered as unemployed in the City in July 1980, 4,314 (58 per cent) had been out of work for more than a year.

That transcription is from the document I found entitled THE CLOSURE OF THE TATE & LYLE REFINERY, LOVE LANE LIVERPOOL, A BACKGROUND NOTE (CITY PLANNING OFFICER) It has the stamp of Liverpool Welfare Rights at the top right of the document and below is {Copy as submitted to Chief Executive 26.1.81]

Echo pic of raised hands

That picture of the Canteen meeting and raised hands was in the Echo then and two weeks back when my letter about the 90 day redundancy notices was published.

Letter published in Echo 20121