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Union condemns decision to call in administrators at Unipart Automotive

Unite union’s top automotive official Roger Maddison said the decision by Solihull-based Unipart Automotive to call in administrators rather than seek a buyer was ‘very disappointing

Unite union’s top automotive official Roger Maddison

More than 1,200 workers at crisis-hit Unipart Automotive are being denied redundancy payments by the firm's collapse into administration – with their pensions at risk.

Unite union's top automotive official Roger Maddison said the decision by Solihull-based Unipart Automotive to call in administrators and not find an alternative buyer was 'very disappointing'.

However, a deal was struck with Solihull-based The Parts Alliance and Leeds company Andrew Page which saved three branches in the region and 33 in total.

Mr Maddison said: "This shock news is extremely concerning and will devastate the workforce. These job losses will hit hard but will hurt communities across the country as Unipart Automotive is nationwide.

"It is very disappointing that the company has sought administration and not an alternative buyer. Administration plunges these 1,224 workers and their families into immediate financial insecurity, denying them redundancy payments and putting their pensions at risk.

"We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the administrator to ensure that the interests of the workforce are top of their considerations."

Mr Maddison issued the warning 24 hours after the West Midland firm revealed it had collapsed into insolvency after 'experiencing financial stress for a number of years'.

Its demise led to the loss of nearly 150 jobs across the region at a string of branches, including Birmingham, Brierley Hill, Kidderminster, Redditch and West Bromwich.

The company operated a network of 180 branches and distribution hubs trading under the Unipart Automotive, Partco Autoparts and Express Factors brand.

The Unipart Automotive distribution arm was sold by the Unipart Group in 2011 and was an entirely separate company.

John Neill, chairman and chief executive of the Unipart Group, said: "We are saddened by the Unipart Automotive situation and even though we sold control of this business years ago, we are concerned for the future of the employees."

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