Internal restructuring
United Kingdom
Location of affected unit(s)
Transportation / Storage
Warehousing And Support Activities For Transportation, Postal And Courier Activities
Warehousing And Support Activities For Transportation
52.2 - Support activities for transportation

180 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
10 October 2006
Employment effect (start)
Foreseen end date


British Waterways has announced that some of the country's waterways may have to close amid funding cuts which have led to 180 job losses. It blames the cuts on a 7 million GBP drop in its funding from Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra's cost-cutting follows a 200 million GBP overspend - which it blames partly on bird flu fears and new farm subsidies

A merger of regional branches based in Tamworth, Staffs and Birmingham will account for a third of the job losses. Approximately another 60 jobs are set to go from the organisation's central office workforce, with a similar number being cut from its other British Waterways units.

The chief executive of British Waterways expressed that the job cuts were essential if the organisation is to maintain its rate of progress. He added, 'I accept that this is difficult news but we cannot be complacent in our management of the waterways network. We must constantly adapt and change to the circumstances around us, remaining committed to our vision of an expanded, vibrant, largely self-sufficient network enjoyed by an ever-increasing numbers of visitors.'

A Defra spokesman described British Waterways as a 'success story' over the past seven years with more than 200 miles of canal and waterway restored aided by more than 524 million GBP of government cash.

A spokesman for Unison, which represents many of the agency's workers, said: 'We will fight these job cuts with every means at our disposal and we have arranged an emergency meeting of stewards to draw up plans. Unison believes it's an absolute disgrace that 180 hard-working loyal members of staff at British Waterways face the prospect of losing their job due to incompetence at Defra'

The union has called for talks to consider alternative options before staff are made redundant.


  • 10 October 2006: BBC Website


Eurofound (2006), British Waterways, Internal restructuring in United Kingdom, factsheet number 64243, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/64243.