Monday, December 29, 2014

UKIP Man Sends Out A Xmas Gift to Workers

 OUTSIDE City Links depot, Motherwell.

TWO items of generosity to warm the heart in the season of goodwill, and good cheer, and betoken - for somebody perhaps - a happy and good new year.  First, the news that Daily Express and Daily Star owner Richard Desmond, who has written sentimentally about his immigrant forebears, and likes to be known for his charitable works, has donated £300,000 to the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Well, he is entitled to fund the party of his choice, even if it has some undesirable allies and a less charitable attitude towards foreign immigrants.

It seems unnecessary to ask whether Desmond's newspapers will follow, since they have been setting the anti-immigrant, and anti-minority, agenda since long before most of us had heard of UKIP's leader Nigel Farage.  

The second piece of seasonal goodwill came in the news for 2,727 City Link workers, just in time for Christmas Day, that their company was being placed into administration, and they will be getting the sack - not from Santa Claus, but from City Link boss John Moulton. Mind you, maybe this modern-day Scrooge was too upset to tell them. Most only heard on the news that they will be receiving no more pay after December 31st.

City Link was a major carrier, used by firms like John Lewis, and Mothercare.

While people who were expecting parcels have been told today they can collect them from depots, the workers will be collecting their P45s.  And some maybe not even that.

The 2,727 staff who have been told to brace themselves for “substantial redundancies” in the coming days do not 1,000 self-employed drivers and third-party workers, whom receivers Ernst and Young say would be “unsecured creditors” of City Link and therefore not entitled to any redundancy payments.  The RMT union reckons the true jobs figure was about 5,000 once workers in the supply chain were taken into account.

Better Capital bought the troubled courier group for just £1 in April 2013 from Rentokil. It promised to invest £40 million turning round the business, which had not got over its takeover of rival Target Express in 2008, and was slowed by IT problems. The company put workers on new contracts, paying staff on a per-parcel basis and requiring drivers to pay for their own vans, uniforms and petrol.

Most parcel carriers have been doing more business due to increased online buying. In the Summer City Link launched a new green and yellow staff uniform, replacing the old black livery. But the uniforms were not company issue - hundreds of drivers on City Link’s books had to pay for the kit themselves, as they are self-employed.

Last month City Link’s said it had “got all its plans in place to deliver an even more successful peak to last year’s winning performance”. Liam Tucker, its operations director, who joined in September, said: “City Link had one of its most successful peak periods in 2013 and we are looking forward to an even busier and more successful one in 2014.”

But now we are told that City Link has incurred substantial losses over several years. "Despite the best efforts to save City Link, including marketing the company for sale, it could not continue to operate as a going concern,” ,” said Ernst and Young (EY) partner Hunter Kelly, who highlighted intense competition in the sector and a struggle to reduce its overheads.  EY is expected to start letting staff go in the coming days because City Link’s owners – private equity firm Better Capital, led by veteran venture capitalist Jon Moulton – have failed to find a buyer as a going concern.

City Link was still advertising for more owner drivers as news came of the redundancies. But as City Link’s existing freelancers have discovered, they will not be entitled to any redundancy payments made by the administrators and some could even lose deposits put down on leased vehicles.

The RMT union says announcing the closure at Christmas was not only heartless but being in a holiday period could hinder any rescue plan. RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, called for an official investigation into both the timing of the appointment of administrators and allegations that City Link may have been restructured prior to its collapse, moving “valuable property assets out into a separate company”.

Better Capital boss Jon Moulton dismissed the RMT’s claims, telling the Guardian: “If this is an asset strip, it is an extremely poor one because we will have lost a lot of money.” Better Capital has already written down its £40m investment in City Link to £20m.

Meanwhile fellow blogger Tom Pride has been looking at the boss of  Better Capital:
"Moulton is a former Conservative Party donor, who decided to transfer his allegiance to UKIP after criticising Tory chancellor George Osborne for not cutting hard enough and for being too soft on austerity".

And here are some quotes:
Moulton on making people redundant: “You can never fire anyone too soon

Moulton’s description of the people he has fired: “cutting away unnecessaries

Moulton on why there should be even more austerity: “It’s the moral thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.

Moulton on why there needs to be more cuts to public services such as the NHS: “I don’t believe that the UK economy will do well until the public sector shrinks.

Moulton on how much he loved making companies bankrupt when he worked as an accountant: “Insolvency was great.”

Moulton on his great love for Margaret Thatcher: “”Without Mrs Thatcher I probably would have stayed working in the US, watching the UK decay rapidly.

Moulton on his approach to making a profit: “We come and make redundancies, close facilities, take the costs of out of a P&L and in a month or two, profits come back.

Moulton on his first experiences of dealing with bankruptcies and redundancies: “Firing people, selling factories and stock. It was great fun.”

Moulton on why he loves his job  – which often involves sacking thousands of people: ” I do what I do for the enjoyment it gives me.”


City Link staff hold protest outside Scottish depot

City Link contractor says: 'I've worked for nothing'

Workers facing redundancy at the collapsed parcel delivery firm City Link have staged a demonstration outside a depot in Motherwell. City Link contractor Mark O'Neill, who has worked with the company for 21 years, will become a creditor but doubts he will get any money back
He said: "It looks as if I've worked the whole of December for nothing. "You couldn't ask for a worse Christmas present."

Staff learned that the company, which employs 165 people in Scotland, had gone into administration on Christmas Day. Workers gathered in Motherwell on Monday morning to protest against the prospect of redundancy.

The job losses are expected on New Year's Eve, with the remaining posts being retained to wind down the company.

Political action

Staff have been told they will be paid until 31 December. More than 100 contractors work for the company in Scotland. They will be treated as creditors by administrators.

Those taking part in the protest in Motherwell were demanding political efforts to save the operation as a going concern - or for as many jobs as possible to be saved.

Gordon Martin, regional organiser in Scotland for the RMT union, said some staff were joined at the demonstration by their partners and children.

Speaking at the scene, he said: "It's a demonstration organised by the workers, for the workers, about their right to work. Basically this is a right-to-work argument. These guys deserve and demand the right to work."

He claimed a recent meeting with the administrators failed to give staff answers to their questions.

"They've walked out of the meeting more disillusioned than when they walked into it, which is saying something considering the situation," he said.

Mr Martin said the protesters were aiming to put political pressure on UK and Scottish politicians to intervene to save jobs.

He urged MSPs and Scottish ministers to "intervene with any means possible and through any actions to try and keep this as a going concern - and if that's not possible to save as many jobs as possible".

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