Workers at crisis-torn National Express were dealt a savage pre-Christmas blow with up to 200 jobs facing the axe, it was revealed today.
The majority of the jobs at risk are based in Birmingham, including posts at the transport giant’s head office at Five Ways, and at its bus and coach division.
Workers were informed of the job cuts in meetings yesterday in the latest of a string of major blows to hit the debt-laden Birmingham-based group over the last year.
A worker, who asked not to be identified, said: “National Express has told staff it is making 200 people redundant. The redundancies are mainly from its bus and coach division, and head office.
“Most of the jobs that are being cut are based in Birmingham, and it also means the closure of the offices at Bordesley Green, the old Travel West Midlands headquarters.”
The jobs blow comes just a week before the opening of National Express’s new £15 million coach station in Digbeth, which will become the group’s new headquarters in the New Year.
A spokesman for National Express confirmed the group was “proposing to make some changes to its UK head office business structure” but said the exact number of job losses was still to be finalised.
“These changes will result in a reduction in the overall headcount, but the exact numbers are yet to be finalised and are subject to consultation with our employees.”
The job cuts come at the end of a turbulent year for National Express which has been stripped of the East Coast franchise by the Government and seen a £765 million takeove deal collapse after four months of negotiations.
Last month the Department of Transport decided not to extend the company’s East Anglia franchise after its current contract ends in March 2011.
The group has also been without a Chief Executive since July after Richard Bowker left.
There have been reports that Dean Finch, the boss of London Underground maintenance company Tube Lines, is being lined up as successor to Mr Bowker.
The transport group has around £977 million of debts and last month launched a £360 million rights issue in a bid to repair its battered balanced sheet.