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Union says 200 jobs under threat at Interserve

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published:

Union bosses have called for talks with bosses at struggling infrastructure group Interserve as it prepares to axe around 200 jobs.

Around 200 jobs are thought to be under threat at Interserve

The construction and outsourcing company, which employs around 1,100 people across the Black Country, has seen its shares plunge in value after revealing a slump in profits.

Unite, the UK’s largest construction union, has called for employers at Interserve to meet with the union and discuss the company’s future.

Unite says it made the call after it was announced that Interserve is to make 200 staff redundant as a result of “worse than anticipated trading this year and problem energy from waste contracts.”

Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay said: “It is vitally important that Interserve sits down with Unite and explains fully what is going on at the company and what the plans are for the future.

“There are many Unite members currently employed with Interserve in construction roles who are becoming increasingly concerned about the uncertainty which is currently surrounding the company.

“It is not acceptable for Interserve to hold Unite at arms-length and to deny us a seat at the table when workers’ jobs are under threat.”

“Workers need reassurance that there are not going to be further job losses in the short to medium term.”

In a brief statement Interserve said: “Since October this year, we have been reviewing our business strategy and performance to create a stronger platform for Interserve’s future profitable growth.

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“In the short term, we are reducing the overall costs within the business, and this will unfortunately have a direct impact on some of our people with possible job losses.”

The company is offering no detail on how many jobs are under threat or whereabouts the axe may fall.

Interserve's operating profit is now expected to be half what it was in the second half of last year, as the services arm grapples with escalating staff costs, squeezed margins and a flagging performance from its justice business.

Its construction unit has also endured a triple-whammy, with profits coming under pressure from added costs, tough trading conditions and “operational delivery issues”.

Interserve, which has a workforce of around 80,000 and gross revenues of £3.6 billion, said it may not hit its earnings to net debt test in its financial covenants and has hired a financial adviser to help talks with its lenders.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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