Commenting on the sale of the company to venture capitalists Douglas Bay Capital (DBAY), Unite national officer for road transport Adrian Jones said the union was seeking an urgent meeting with the new owners to discuss the futures of its 1,000 members working for the company.
“The recent financial problems experienced by Stobart’s has led to our members at the company becoming very anxious about their employment, a situation made worse by the lack of information provided,” said Jones.
‘Not at workers’ expense’
“Unite hopes that early discussions will pave the way for an improved industrial relations climate with Stobart’s. However, the new owners need to be fully aware that Unite will not allow profits to be ramped up at the expense of our members’ jobs, pay or conditions.”
Eddie Stobart, which operates temperature-controlled supply chains for the food and drink industry, delayed the publication of its interim results in August – pending a financial review by auditors. It expected a loss for the first half of 2019 of “no less than £12m” and a profit for the year of “no more than £2m”.
In response to the reduction in earnings before tax, the haulier looked at a number of options to make itself more profitable, including selling the company. DBAY submitted an offer for the company soon after (9 September 2019).
In a statement released alongside the group’s annual general meeting, chief executive Sébastien Desreumaux said: “The proposed transaction provides Eddie Stobart with the opportunity to move forward and look to deliver sustainable growth and profitability from a stable footing.
“Our main priority and focus is now continuing to deliver the high levels of services expected by our customers as we move into the busy Christmas period.”
Meanwhile, workers at pub giant Greene King are being balloted for strike action by Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, in a dispute over a ‘paltry’ pay offer.