September 26th, 2016

Coventry MPs demand urgent government inquiry into City Link

Coventry MPs demand urgent government inquiry into City Link Coventry MPs demand urgent government inquiry into City Link
Updated: 4:40 pm, May 07, 2015

CALLS for a inquiry into City Link which announced up to 2,700 job losses on Christmas Day are being stepped up by MPs.

Coventry MPs Jim Cunningham and Geoffrey Robinson are meeting business secretary Vince Cable today to seek an urgent investigation into events leading to the city-based parcel firm’s collapse.

They also want the government to step in with timely redundancy payments.

Around 2,700 jobs including 400 at the Coventry HQ in Siskin Parkway are expected to go. Most workers have already been made redundant with the company now in administration.

Mr Cunningham, Labour MP for Coventry South, said the government must not wait for the administrators Ernst and Young to complete its lengthy statutory investigation.

That position is supported by the RMT union, which accused the government of acting too late.

Mr Cunningham is further concerned about redundancy payment arrangements for workers including drivers who were hired by City Link with “self-employed” status.

He is also calling for a law change to prevent firms such as City Link’s parent company Better Capital walking away while being first in line for any return on remaining assets, as secured creditors.

Mr Cunningham added: “The priority at this stage is to make sure that all employees affected are receiving the support they need and are able to find new employment as soon as possible.”

Mr Robinson requested in the Commons that Dr Cable “make clear personally how much he deprecates the cynical and disgraceful behaviour of the owners of City Link and put that on the record.”

Mr Robinson added: “No behaviour like this can be justified in the 21st century—it belongs to the 19th century, if it belongs anywhere at all. Will he make that clear today?”

Dr Cable responded: “Giving lectures in that way is probably not helpful.

“I need to establish the facts about what has happened. Very serious allegations have been made, and we need to get them properly investigated.

“..This is a company that was losing money under a variety of ownerships for as long as five years, so its future has been in question for a long time.”

Dr Cable previously suggested any government investigation must await administrator Ernst and Young’s report to the government’s Insolvency Service, which Mr Cunningham said could take at least six months.

Mr Cunningham said companies had contacted him offering jobs to former workers, and were now posting vacancies on a Facebook page called “City Link Jobs Board”.

An estimated 400 staff have so far found new work partly thanks to the voluntary efforts of former colleagues including Bob Powner, who set up a jobs shop on December 30.

Jobs Centre Plus and other agencies are also involved in the “rapid response” effort to find new jobs.

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