Unite the Union

Unite the Union

September 11, 2007 08:44 ET

Lil-Lets workers betrayed by private equity firms

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Sept. 11, 2007) - Unite members who lost their jobs and pensions when sanitary product manufacturer Lil-Lets was bought out by one private equity company and then another are at TUC Congress to argue for better regulation of the industry.

150 workers for the only sanitary product manufacturer in the UK were left devastated when the Birmingham factory closed in June. The plant had a 112 year history in Alum Rock, Birmingham.

The closure was announced in November last year while still owned by private equity company, Accantia Health & Beauty Ltd. Then in December the company was then bought out by equity banker, Electra and renamed Lil-lets UK. Electra stated there would no change to the closure proposal, despite the company making excellent profits.

The company closed in June this year with UK operations transferred to Taiwan and South Africa.

Unite officer Lynne Shakespeare said:

"The experience of our members at Lil-Lets just shows how equity firms can operate. Neither of the last two private equity owners were interested in running what was a profitable business as a going concern.

"Lil-Lets biggest market is the UK, yet they have treated their long-serving and skilled workforce with utter callousness and disrespect. As well losing their jobs our members have suffered substantial losses to their pensions.

"This industry cannot be allowed to operate in this scandalous way. It must be better regulated and made more transparent and answerable to all stakeholders, most of all its workers."

Unite members who are ex-employees of the company are calling for the UK's biggest union to organise a consumer boycott of its products. Unite have run a successful boycott of Peugeot after the companies decision to close its plant, also in the West Midlands.

The former Lil-Lets workers are at TUC today and available for interview.

Contact Information

  • Unite Press Office
    Catherine Bithell
    07958 473 224