SCORES of ex-City Link workers sacked at Christmas have already found new jobs thanks to the festive spirit of volunteers who helped colleagues.
It came as calls for government intervention fell on deaf ears, and an absence of any Jobs Centre-led taskforce response previously deployed for mass redundancies elsewhere in Coventry.
Leading the back to work operation in the company’s Coventry HQ was 47-year-old Bob Powner, who gave up his Christmas and worked 24/7 to help link ex-colleagues with prospective new employers.
The postal delivery company’s administration was announced by parent company Better Capital on Christmas Day – with 2,300 job losses, including 279 in Coventry.
It was then that senior manager Mr Powner decided to leave his family to finish their Christmas dinner and work to set up a “jobs shop” on December 30 at the workplace in Siskin Parkway.
In attendance were several companies offering work and about 250 City Link workers.
Mr Powner said: “I knew I had to act quickly. It was a situation that could not wait for Christmas.
“I lost my job too but I thought to myself there was no point getting angry or sitting at home in self-pity. When my family was tucking into Christmas pudding, I was on the phone setting up the jobs shop and I’ve worked around the clock.
“A lot of theses guys, Coventry people, are model workers and I’ve never seen such a mature response. That will stay with me for the rest of my days.
“I’m hopeful the opportunity will have arisen for 90 per cent of Coventry staff to take up opportunities elsewhere.”
Asked about the lack of government response as an RMT union protest was held outside the gates, Mr Powner said: “Being diplomatic, the timing of this would have made it more difficult for the government or council to step in and do something.
“But for me, these people had just had their livelihoods taken away.”
The initiative came alongside a “City Link Jobs Board” on social media site Facebook – which also links staff to hiring companies nationwide.
Mr Powner, head of hubs, who says he had no role in the decision of parent company Better Capital to enter administration, estimates 90 per cent of ex-Coventry staff could land jobs elsewhere from the initiatives.
Scores have already done so, or have been linked up with employers for consultation or interviews, he says.
They include parcel sorters, collection and delivery drivers, HGV drivers, supervisors, finance and admin workers.
Companies seeking to hire ex-City Link staff have included John Lewis Partnership, Contract Options, APC, UK Mail, Yodel Parcels and other delivery companies. Mr Powner worked closely with Keyne Steinborn-Busse of SB group recruitment company.
He has been overseeing a skeleton staff deployed to clear a backlog of undelivered items before the official redundancy date of New Year’s Eve.
Administrators Ernst & Young kept on 371 workers nationwide temporarily beyond New Year’s Eve to complete the task.