UPDATE: The Member of Parliament for Solihull said she intends to engage with Unipart Automotive to see whether there are plans to re-train and help redundant workers find new jobs.
Lorely Burt expressed her “concern and disappointment” for the 1,244 workers who have lost their jobs as a result of Unipart Automotive entering administration.
Speaking to TM, the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament said she was sad to see the UK’s economic recovery not extending to Unipart Automotive workers.
“Two years ago the UK became a net car exporter for the first time in nearly 40 years. The economic recovery is bedding in but it is sad to see the full benefits have not reached workers at Unipart.”
Vowing to help those affected in her constituency, she continued: “I will be speaking with Unipart Automotive to find out what steps they are taking to ensure their workers are properly looked after, such as helping them re-train and find new jobs.”
Formerly the Unipart Group’s automotive arm before being sold in 2011, Unipart Automotive said it was forced into the decision following years of “financial” stress” and the failure to secure a new buyer for the whole company.
So far, 33 of Unipart Automotive’s 180 branches and distribution centres have been sold to competitors including Andrew Page and the Parts Alliance, saving 361 jobs.
Administrators, auditing firm KPMG, said 208 staff had been retained to assist them, but a total of 1,244 had been let go.
Mark Orton, joint administrator, said the company was seen as too much of a risk for prospective buyers.
“The level of cash and further operational restructuring required to rescue a more substantial part of the business posed too much risk for most interested parties,” he said.
Saddened to hear that Unipart Automotive, the company we sold in 2011, has gone into administration. Not to be confused with #Unipart Group
— UNIPART GROUP (@UnipartGroup) July 24, 2014
Roger Maddison, Unite national officer for the union’s automotive sector, said the decision to enter administration rather than continue looking for a new buyer was disappointing.
“This shock news is extremely concerning and will devastate the workforce. These job losses will hit Coventry hard, but will hurt communities across the country as Unipart Automotive is nationwide,” he said.
Mr Maddison added Unite would now be seeking to meet with the appointed administrator to ensure that the interests of the workforce are considered a priority.