LONDON (AFP) – The British parcel delivery firm City Link, which went into administration on Christmas Eve, announced on New Year’s Eve that it would be cutting 2,356 jobs.
The company’s administrators from Ernst & Young also said in a statement on Wednesday that 371 employees would be kept on to deal with remaining parcels, help sell off assets and wind down operations.
Dashing trade union hopes of a last-minute rescue bid, they also said a consortium wanting to buy the company had “offered no money up front and significantly undervalued the assets to be acquired”.
The RMT union said the failure to secure jobs was “a disgraceful and cynical betrayal” and accused the company of “leaving a trail of human misery”.
“The City Link Christmas destruction is an act of industrial vandalism that shames our nation while the government looked on and offered nothing but hollow words,” said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
The administrators said earlier that the company had been hit by intense competition on the postal delivery market, as well as changing client needs and difficulties in reducing its costs.
The announcement of the bankruptcy came on Christmas Day, prompting angry reactions from trade unions.
“This is the bitterest blow any group of workers could receive on Christmas Day,” Cash said then.
“It is absolutely shocking that the company have sprung this announcement once all the Christmas deliveries have been completed,” he said.
The company’s website said it began delivering parcels in 1969 and had an annual turnover of 300 million (382 million euros, $467 million).
But Kelly said it had suffered “substantial losses over several years” and had “all but used up” a ú40-million investment made in 2013.
The founder of City Link’s parent company, Better Capital, has apologised for the firm’s collapse but said it was “not mishandled”.
Jon Moulton, a veteran venture capitalist, also defended the payment of redundancies through a taxpayer-funded scheme saying that City Link had “paid a fortune” in taxes.