Union officials yesterday branded as “disgraceful” the timing of an announcement that more than 2,700 workers are facing redundancies over the holidays.
The RMT demanded “urgent” talks with Business Secretary Vince Cable after it emerged on Christmas Day that parcel delivery group City Link had gone into administration.
The firm, which has 2,727 employees, including dozens based at its four Scottish sites in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Motherwell, called in administrators from EY after years of “substantial losses”.
Coventry-headquartered City Link now expects numerous redundancies after no buyer could be found to bail it out.
The RMT said it believed there may have been “more cynical motives” behind the decision to “delay” the announcement until Christmas Day and demanded an investigation.
It said it had been told City Link was in administration on Christmas Eve, a fact neither the company or the administrators were prepared to confirm publicly until the following day.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The delayed timing of the announcement that City Link was in administration to tea time on Christmas Day stinks to high heaven.
“Not only was it the most brutal and callous way to treat nearly 3,000 staff but RMT believes there may have been more cynical motives behind it which we want the government to investigate.
“The disgraceful timing of the City Link announcement at the start of the festive season must not be allowed to delay and hamper efforts to rescue the jobs. That is why RMT is demanding urgent meetings with both the administrators and Vince Cable, we will tolerate no dragging of heels. “
The group’s operations have been suspended at all its depots until Monday, when customers and those expecting deliveries will be able to collect their parcels.
Hunter Kelly, joint administrator to City Link, said: “City Link Limited has incurred substantial losses over several years.
“These losses reflect a combination of intense competition in the sector, changing customer and parcel recipient preferences, and difficulties for the company in reducing its cost base. The strain of these losses became too great and all but used up Better Capital’s £40 million investment, which was made in 2013 and intended to help to turn around the company.”
Investment firm Better Capital, led by veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton, bought the courier group for just £1 in April last year from previous owner, pest control firm Rentokil.
A number of staff will be retained to help return parcels to customers and help with winding down the company, EY said.
In response to the “regrettable news”, John Lewis confirmed yesterday that it had transferred all business with City Link to alternative carriers.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said on Twitter: “Feel terribly for City Link workers subjected to Christmas uncertainty. It’s inexcusably cruel allowing things to reach this point at this time.”
He added: “I very much hope that a buyer can be found for as much of the City Link business as possible so the maximum number of jobs can be saved.”
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