The directors of Cradley Print have blamed union intransigence for the collapse of the company which crashed with debts of nearly £9.5 million.

More than 200 people lost their jobs when the Black Country's largest print company, which produced holiday brochures as well as literature for B & Q and Makro, went into administration in April.

Administrators PKF have given up hope of finding a buyer for the business as a going concern and have announced a sale of the company's assets to raise money for the creditors who stand to receive only 7.14p for every pound they are owed.

Among the 490 creditors, including former staff, are Sandwell Council, which is owed £115,000.

Joint administrators Ian Gould and Eddie Kerr will unveil their proposals to creditors next Tuesday, at the Thistle Birmingham Edgbaston hotel.

The partners at the accountants and business advisors PKF have appointed the plant and machinery division of King Sturge to dispose of the assets, such as web printing presses and finishing plant by private treaty sale.

The six acre site in Chester Road, which was sold to the Cradley Group Holding Directors Pension Scheme for £1.2 million currently lies empty.

At a meeting yesterday Chris Jordan blamed Amicus and the workers themselves for the company's fate.

He said: "Over the past five years Cradley Print has been losing money year on year in what has become a very competitive market place."

Matters came to a head when in March after the company lost £600,000 in the first quarter of trading.

Redundancies were planned as well as changes to shift patterns and shifts premiums in return for a 25 per cent share in future profits.

As part of the plan from the sale and leaseback of the site, the Cradley directors would reinvest £1.2 million into Cradley Print.

Mr Jordan said: "But this was refused by Amicus and the workforce. Without that being possible there was no point putting further money into Cradley Print.

"We have had years of problems with the GPMU and then Amicus, in terms of the installation of equipment, and manning levels.

"Then we had to compete with other print companies in the UK, France and Belgium and then eastern Europe.

"Amicus said they were prepared for the business to go into administration rather than negotiate on terms and conditions.

"The proposals that Amicus came back with was to totally change the shift patterns; their proposals were unworkable.

"We believe we had a plan which would make Cradley Print profitable again. It was union intransigence which cost the company."

Cradley Group, the parent firm which works in publishing is the biggest creditor of Cradley Print, owed £1.48 million.

But Mr Jordan said he did not think the debt would sink the company. "The current forecast for creditors is 7.14p in the pound, but we are hopeful this will be improved."

Mick Gill, the father of chapel for Amicus at the factory, said: "The Jordan family are in a state of denial.

"Five years before the administration the workforce was reduced to save £7.9 million and the proposals put forward by the company were not acceptable.

"In my case it would have meant earning £78 a week less, while some of the girls would have been on less than the minimum wage.

"We offered a counter proposal which would save them £2.8 million, where we would have lost a night shift.

"We were willing to accept changes, including losing a night shift and more redundancies on top of the 79 already agreed. We even came up further proposals which would have saved them £500,000 a year more.

"For years we have made concessions, but they never came back to us on our proposals. To say the unions were not proactive is absolutely untrue."