Northampton City Link staff distraught after learning they would lose jobs on Christmas Day

Workers have been attending the City Link depot in Northampton today to find out whether they will be made redundant.
Workers have been attending the City Link depot in Northampton today to find out whether they will be made redundant.

Distraught City Link workers say its tight-knit workforce in Northampton has been ‘ripped apart’ after learning the parcel delivery company had collapsed on Christmas Day.

Many of the 50 or so staff at the company’s Riverside Business Park depot have been returning to work today for the first time since it was announced the company would be making ‘substantial redundancies’ on December 25.

No buyer could be found to take over the Coventry-based firm - and as a result administrators Ernst & Young were called in on Christmas Eve.

Across the country more than 2,700 jobs are at risk and 1,000 self-employed drivers and agency support staff could also lose wages as a result – as it is not yet known whether they will be paid fully for work they have already done.

Paul MacDonald, an agency driver who was a full-time employee of City Link for 19 years, was one of many to attend the Northampton depot today for a meeting with the administrators.

He described the gloomy mood among the returning workers - who had learned of their fate through news reports on Christmas Day, rather than a company memo.

“There are a lot of long servers here,” he said. “It was like a family.

“It has totally ripped that family apart.”

“This company has always relied its workers’ good nature to get things done - you worked hard because you didn’t want to let people down.

“To announce find out on Christmas Day is just appalling.”

Mr MacDonald left the firm as a full time employee four months ago, but he said few were surprised to see the firm, owned by Better Capital, collapse.

“Last year they held a football tournament between its UK depots and they had staff from all over the country transported to Coventry.” He said. “Some even stayed in hotels.

“But then you are told the company is haemorrhaging money - and all the while they are sending people to business conferences at Center Parcs.”

City Link staff were given orders not to speak to the press today, however one worker leaving the building confirmed he had been told he would be losing his job.

Another employee said he would also be made redundant, but was given assurances he would be paid until the end of December.

Customers waiting for parcels were also told to collect them from the depot today as the company has suspended all delivery operations.

Weston Favell resident Ketan Soni, collected a package today from his family in India that he was meant to receive before Christmas Day.

“I was worried I wasn’t going to get it back at all,” he said.

General secretary for the RMT union Mick Cash, called the situation a “despicable and callous manipulation” of thousands of workers.

He said: “It is crystal clear that there has been a truly horrific catalogue of mismanagement at City Link and that staff and their union have been starved of basic information.”

However a Crick-based delivery firm is offering a lifeline to City Link workers set to be made redundant on New Year’s Eve.

Delivery firm Panther Warehousing says it is offering new jobs to employees at the Riverside Business Park depot of City Link.

The company, which offers ‘white-glove’, ‘two-man’ or ‘one-man assisted’ deliveries, says it is looking for up to 100 self-employed and employed drivers (50 two-man teams) across the UK together with up to 40 general customer service and warehouse staff.

For more information email hr@panthergroup.co.uk.