Stillborn baby: mother blames redundancy

Bernarda Sip with a scan of the baby that was stillborn
Bernarda Sip with a scan of the baby that was stillborn

A Luton Polish woman claims she lost the baby she was carrying through the stress of being made redundant by banana importers S H Pratt & Co of Laporte Way.

Bernarda Sip, 34, of Chequer Street was 27 weeks pregnant when her child was stillborn on January 9.

Her cousin Jack Ptasinski was with her when she went into labour and took her to hospital.

He said: “It was her first baby, so this is tough for her. It is a very bad time.”
He added: “She was sent a letter in November saying she was being made redundant on January 11 because her language skills were not sufficient.

“But she has been working as a warehouse operator for the company since May 2006 – so how come it is only now, after seven years, that her English is a problem?

“Other people who have not been there as long are still employed there.”

Mr Ptasinski, a car mechanic from London, said they had an appointment with a solicitor. In the meanwhile he had helped Ms Sip register at the Job Centre.

S H Pratt – which imports, ripens and delivers fruit – announced in October that it planned to axe about a third of its 300-strong workforce.

GMB Union regional officer Sue Hackett described its redundancy selection criteria as “horrific.”

She said: “They appeared to simply pick and choose people they wanted to get rid of with no physical evidence or previous discplinary action.

“We’re trying to get an equality audit and are waiting for legal opinion.”

A spokesman for Pratts said: “We would like to express our sympathy to Bernarda Sip and her family.

“We operated a fair selection process to identify those employees who are remaining with the company.

“During the consultation process, we held group meetings with the trade union and employee representatives, as well as individual discussions with all affected employees to explain what’s happening and to look for ways to minimise the impact of the proposed changes.”