Crunch talks over North East jobs at City Link parcel company

Crunch talks are taking place today in a bid to save hundreds of North jobs following the collapse of parcel delivery firm City Link.

Union officials from the RMT are meeting the company’s administrators Ernst and Young (EY) in the hope they can hammer out a deal to prevent nearly 3,000 job losses, including those at its branches at Belmont in County Durham, Wardley in Gateshead and Carlisle in Cumbria.

The move comes after City Link announced –  on Christmas Day – that it is going into administration after years of “substantial losses.”

The union claims the company employes hundreds of people in the North East, although exactly how many is not yet known.

It has branded the move “truly devastating” for the region’s economy.

Officials are to meet in Leeds this afternoon to discuss the fate of the firm’s 2,727 staff, and union bosses have vowed to stay in talks for as long as it takes to salvage jobs.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:

“RMT’s objective now is to do everything we can to rescue jobs in the wake of the shock collapse into administration of City Link on Christmas Day.

“Despite the festive season there can be no delays in getting on with the rescue programme and we expect the government through Vince Cable to take an active role right now.

“The thousands of workers caught in the middle of this crisis deserve full support from every quarter.”

The union has demanded “urgent talks” with business secretary Mr Cable and said it is disappointed the minister has only pledged to meet them in the new year.

Coventry-based City Link, which is understood to have counted John Lewis among its largest clients, 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.

A spokesman for the union in the North said:

“Hundreds of jobs will be placed at risk in the North East and this will be truly devastating for the economy.”

City Link operations have been suspended at all its depots until Monday, when customers and those expecting deliveries will be able to collect their parcels.

Investment firm Better Capital, led by veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton, bought the courier group for just £1 in April last year from the 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.

Source –  Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 27 Dec 2014

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