Unite, the UK’s leading union, has vowed to fully assist all its members affected by the collapse of  EVCL Chill  which filed for administration today (Friday 24 September).

Supermarket contracts

EVCL Chill had a number of major contracts for supermarkets including Asda and Sainsbury’s and employed around a 1,000 workers in warehousing and HGV driving roles.

The company is owned by venture capitalists Emergevest. Unite believes that EVCL Chill's collapse into administration is a direct result of the parent company seeking to maximise short term returns at the expense of the investment needed to secure it’s long-term future.

Taxpayer affected

As a separate company, Emergevest will avoid picking up the cost of the collapse of EVCL Chill, which will have to be met by the taxpayer.

Unite, which had over 500 members at the company, is seeking to ensure that the workers employed directly on the Asda and Sainsbury’s contract will be TUPE’d (Transfer of Undertakings [Protection of Employees]) over to work directly for these supermarkets. It is hoped some workers not covered by TUPE will be found within the Asda operation.

Redundancy fears

It is expected that the remaining workers at the company will be made redundant. Unite will be providing support to help the affected workers find new work and will also be seeking to take a protective award on behalf of its members for the failure of the company to inform and consult with them before making them redundant.

Unite had recently secured a pay increase for the workforce which was worth up to 10 per cent for workers with various elements backdated to both April and July this year. Unite will be assisting members make claims to receive unpaid wages, including the committed to pay award.

EVCL Chill operated depots in Penrith, Rochdale, Crick, Alfreton, Daventry and Bristol.

Venture capitalists involved

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “The collapse of EVCL Chill at a time when there is huge demand for lorry drivers in particular, further calls into question the role and involvement of venture capitalists in UK industry.

“There is something fundamentally wrong in a system which allows the wealthy owners of a company to avoid paying for its collapse while the taxpayer has to pick up the pieces.

EVCL Chill  workers have lost their jobs without warning, through no fault of their own, and Unite will be assisting its members in every way possible in coping at this difficult time.

“It is likely that the EVCL Chill workers employed on its supermarket contracts will be transferred directly to that employer. The rest of the employees will have a far more uncertain future, but this is a highly distressing and stressful time for all workers at EVCL Chill .

“Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.