Staff from City Link’s Gateshead and Durham depots have been told to “go on Facebook” to find a new job.
More than 2,350 workers were made redundant. including many of the company’s 101 North East employees, after an 11th hour rescue bid failed.
And now Business Secretary Vince Cable – who unions had criticised for not doing more to stop the company’s collapse – has told warehouse staff and delivery drivers to search social media for work.
“The Government has put arrangements in place to help employees who are made redundant and we stand ready to help,” Mr Cable said.
“City Link employees and self-employed drivers who have their contracts terminated as a result of City Link’s administration will be able to access the Government’s rapid response service, which draws together local partners such as Jobcentre Plus and the skills bodies to deliver support for each person affected.
> Watch out for the sanctions, lads. Now you are unemployed you automatically become scum and will be treated accordingly.
“In addition, a Facebook page has been set-up to link-up companies holding suitable vacancies with those who have been made redundant, so if drivers can be redeployed into new jobs in this competitive buoyant market they will be.”
> So get ready to grab another self-employed or otherwise unstable job opportunity with another poorly-managed company.
Reacting to the redundancies, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
“The City Link Christmas destruction is an act of industrial vandalism that shames our nation while the Government looked on and offered nothing but hollow words.”
Mr Cash had earlier disclosed details of a possible rescue, saying they had been “made aware of what we believe to be a credible bid to take over some or all of the City Link trading operation”.
But the administrators said that the offer they had received “offered no money up front and significantly undervalued the assets to be acquired.”
In total 2,356 City Link redundancies were announced on New Year’s Eve – however there are still 30,000 parcels waiting to be collected from City Link depots, which stopped accepting new items on Christmas Eve, and 371 people have been kept on to deal with remaining parcels and to assist in winding down its operations. It is not yet clear how many of those jobs are in the North East.
Customers who have sent parcels and intended recipients have been advised to collect their items between 8am and 8pm, with depots expected to remain open until “approximately” January 6.
Joint administrator Hunter Kelly said:
“It is with regret that we have to announce substantial redundancies at City Link Limited, which ceased accepting new parcels on December 24 2014.
“The company endured substantial losses, which ultimately became too great for it to continue as a going concern, and City Link Limited entered administration following an unsuccessful sale process.
“At meetings across City Link Limited’s UK sites on Monday and Tuesday, employees were informed that there would be substantial redundancies as no new business was being taken on.”
The administrators said staff affected by redundancy will be offered advice and support in making claims for redundancy and notice pay.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 01 Jan 2015
A couple received a “shocking and distressing” extra Christmas present – a visit from the bailiffs – who later admitted they got the wrong address.
Paul and Kath Spenceley, from Middlesbrough, said bailiffs “bashed at their door” on Christmas Eve while they were out before leaving a note asking for £3,500.
The couple, of Endsleigh Drive, Acklam, said they were left confused and upset by the letter – before realising it wasn’t meant for them.
Mrs Spenceley, 51, an executive assistant for Redcar and Cleveland Council, said:
“The neighbours told me that they were bashing really hard on the door and making a scene.
“They then posted the note which was from the Sheriff’s Office.
“We were so confused when we read it. We have always paid our bills. We were so upset – it’s not nice to read that you owe £3,500 – especially on Christmas Eve. Then we realised they had the wrong address.”
Mrs Spenceley said she rang the office and left messages but never heard anything back.
“I am worried they haven’t realised the error and they might come back again. Next time they could actually get inside and start taking things. I have been so panicked all over Christmas. How could they get something like that so wrong?”
Mrs Spenceley said she later took the letter to the house it was addressed to.
A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office said:
“It was human error and we apologise for any distress caused. There wasn’t any bashing at the door. We knocked and then posted the letter.
“I received a message from the occupants telling us of the error and we advise that they put the letter in the bin.”
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 31 Dec 2014
A delivery driver who discovered he had lost his job watching the news on Christmas Day says his employers have left him “high and dry”.
News of the collapse of parcel delivery firm City Link was announced on Christmas Eve and will see 2,000 staff made redundant nationally.
Thornaby driver Chris Trattles, who worked at the firm’s Leeming Bar depot, only heard of the closure when a friend told him to switch on the television news on Christmas Day.
He was told not to go into work on Saturday – before a meeting at 7.30am this morning officially announced that he and his colleagues had been made redundant.
The 37-year-old, who worked for the company in two spells, said:
“They have left me and everyone else high and dry.
“We knew what was coming by the time we got to the meeting, but to lose your job this way – and especially finding out on Christmas Day.
“It has spoiled the entire festive period for me.”
Chris said that he will have to apply to the government for statutory redundancy pay, and chase for payment of overtime and unpaid holidays.
“I will have to go and sign on now,” he continued.
“Before Christmas is a busy time, but now that is out of the way January is always a quiet time in the industry so I can’t see where my next job is coming from.
“I have a seven-year-old daughter so there are bills from Christmas, I still have my lodge to pay and I run a car, but there is no more money coming in.
“I don’t know how long a claim for statutory redundancy will take – and I don’t know how I’m going to get my overtime or holiday pay.”
A statement from the company which owned City Link, Better Capital, read:
“Unfortunately the appointment of an administrator was leaked to the media ahead of the intended announcement.
“The directors very much regret the impact on the employees of City Link receiving such bad news on Christmas Day.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Better Capital boss John Moulton said the firm’s administration could not have been handled any better and said: “We chased every possible way to save this company.”
But Chris said staff should have been told earlier:
“I cannot fault the manager at my depot, who has been brilliant, but the top brass knew things were going wrong and should have communicated with staff.”
Chris worked at City Link’s old Thornaby branch for around four years before accepting administration when the depot was closed and operations moved to Durham.
He rejoined the company working from Leeming Bar around four years ago, delivering parcels across Yorkshire.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 29 Dec 2014
Warehouse staff at clothing firm, J Barbour & Sons, based at Monks Way, on the Bede Trading Estate in Jarrow, are due to walk out tomorrow until next Tuesday in a dispute over new working hours.
As the company is due to close down from Christmas Eve, the striking staff will not return to work until Monday, December 29.
The dispute centres on the firm’s warehouses in Wardley, Gateshead, and involves 134 of its 600 North East workers.
Workers who are members of the Unite trade union will be out in force at the warehouses from tomorrow in support of action against changes to shift patterns, incorporating later working until 10.30pm, which staff claim is not “family friendly”.
A source for the strikers said:
“The company is trying to change contracts to include working until 10.30pm. They promote themselves as family-friendly but this change will mean that working parents will be saying goodbye to their children one morning and not seeing them until the following morning.
“A lot of employees don’t have their own transport and will have no way of getting home that late at night. The employees have also received a letter this week stating that they are damaging the business by their actions.”
The two warehouses will be manned by non-trade union workers over the course of the dispute with the company pledging to “minimise any disruption”.
The proposed new warehouse working hour patterns are 7am to 3pm and 2.30pm to 10.30pm.
Source – Shields Gazette, 17 Dec 2014
An increasing number of families in the North East are facing homelessness this winter, according to the latest statistics.
Calls to charity Shelter have increased by 12% since last year, and the number of people in the North East who called the Shelter helpline from 2012 to 2013 reached 2,490, the equivalent of more than 200 callers per month.
The charity say the figures reflect the growing number of people struggling to cope with the rising costs of living coupled with stagnating wages, and expect more families will find it increasingly difficult to keep a roof over their heads, especially as bills mount in the run-up to Christmas.
Shelter helpline adviser Liz Clare said the Christmas period is the most difficult time of year for her and colleagues. :
“The threat of homelessness is devastating at any time of year, but it seems to get worse around Christmas as the strains of the holidays close in and the weather gets cold.
“One Christmas Eve I answered a call from a mum with a disabled son. They were evicted from their home that night and had to sleep on the streets in the cold. We managed to find them a place to stay, but I’ll never forget the devastation in her voice. The sad fact is that eviction notices can come at any time of year. “
“I’ve never seen the helpline as busy as it has been this year.”
Jeremy Cripps, the chief executive of charity Children North East warned the figures could also increase following Christmas as people struggle to cope with the costs of the festive period and fall into arrears.
“What we have noticed is that a high proportion of families are there because of rent arrears or because their homes have been repossessed because of missed mortgage payments.”