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to live very comfortably for more than a decade. He lives on the Western Point Hill, in ‘The Hideaway’, a Victorian house which later became a safe zone away from the chemical plant. His back garden has a stunning view overlooking the whole plant, and, on a clear day, even Mount Snowdon. John also has a holiday home in Tenerife, where he spends a large part of his summers.


Yet, for some workers, the redundancy was not as lucrative. Billy Jackson was one of the less fortunate who missed the cut. Even though he spent the same number of years at the plant, he did not receive ‘the handshake’. He also lives in one of the workers’ houses, but at the bottom of the hill and very close to the actual chemical plant. Billy has managed to stay financially stable through inheritance money and some scattered contract work in property renovations. Although disappointed by the ICI, he thinks himself lucky for still having other means of income. “There are hundreds of workers who only got a small


compensation from the industry and had to move away to find work elsewhere,” he says.


Within the marshes of Frogham, lives a self- sustaining farmer, Neil Boow. A former worker for the ICI, Neil was made redundant without the ‘golden hand- shake’. His farm used to be a dairy farm, but the combination of unbearable smells from the large fertilizer plant, no more than two hundred meters away, and the toxic effects of excess nitrogen on his grass, rendered much of it unusable. He now uses his farm as a storage unit for larger companies and helps other farmers by letting their cattle graze on the low risk parts of his lands. Although it has been in the family for generations, making it very hard for him to sell, his current low income is going to make it necessary for him to move on. He said: “The farm has been in my family for a long time now, and it saddens me to sell any of my fields, but with the way things are, I’m going to end up with just the farm house.”


A large part of the community has been institutionalised by being so completely dependent on an industry that provided entire families, not only with employment, but the security of living arrangements and pensions as well. The organisation was able to dismiss employees at their choosing, and either provide them with a lucrative retirement fund or leave them in a financial lurch. On the bright side, plans to build a large wind farm in the marches of Halton have now gone through, which will again provide jobs to members of the community. Ultimately, though, nothing will be able to replace the thousands of jobs lost in the 2001 mass redundancy


RUNCORDN REDUNDANCIES


LEFT: Neil Boow, a farmer who did not receive the golden handshake,stands on land contaminated by the factories.


MIDDLE: Billy Jackson, a former worker at ICI did not receive the golden handshake, despite having worked there for 30 years. RIGHT: John Glynn, one of the few who received the golden handshake - a result of his position in the company.


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