Unite the Union

Unite the Union

July 16, 2007 10:33 ET

Private Equity Company Accused of Being Behind Sacking of Essex Workers Before Takeover

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - July 16, 2007) - Unite, Britain's biggest union, believes the sacking of workers in First Data International in Essex - just weeks before they are to be taken over by private equity group KKR is not coincidental.

First Data, which is being taken over by the private equity group has made 70 of its Basildon staff redundant without prior warning or consultation. The staff received no notice of the meetings where they were declared redundant and most were escorted off the premises immediately after the meetings had been concluded.

The staff are all believed to have been selected for redundancy only 24 hours before being shown the door and in an effort to hush up the outrage it is believed they were told they would only receive their full redundancy entitlement if they signed gagging compromise agreements.

There was no prior consultation with the union, in breach of British and European employment legislation, and no forewarning for the individuals involved, who appear to have been selected in advance of any consultation.

First Data International is currently owned by a US owned parent, First Data Corporation, and processes credit card transactions for credit card companies and major banks. It employs 2000 employees at its Basildon site with a further 50 employees at its Glasgow call centre.

Peter Skyte, Unite National Officer, said:

"This latest example where employees were selected in secret and sent home with no prior warning and no consultation with the union demonstrates the need for urgent government action on the tax treatment of private equity companies and a strengthening of employee rights in takeovers."

Richard Lynch, Unite negotiator responsible for First Data said:

"The way in which these redundancies have been handled has been totally unacceptable and has appalled staff in First Data. They deserve better than this and must never be treated in this way again."

Contact Information

  • Ciaran Naidoo
    07768 931 315