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Staff ‘gutted’ as jobs lost at transport firm Aspray

By Liam Keen | Willenhall | Business | Published:

"In 10 days that’s it, we’re done – they don’t care about us, I’m so angry."

One of the letters issued to Aspray staff, inset, seen by the Express & Star, informing workers of the closure plans

Staff at a Black Country transport firm have spoken of their anger after being told they will lose their jobs in just 10 days time.

Almost 200 people are set to be made redundant when next-day delivery firm Aspray Transport, part of the Aspray Group, shuts down next Friday.

The firm employs 192 people at its headquarters in Noose Lane, Willenhall, and 449 are employed in total across the UK.

It was quiet at the Aspray depot in Willenhall after staff were informed of the news

A letter circulated to staff on Wednesday, and later passed to the Express & Star, said the Company Voluntary Arrangement entered into in April had "been insufficient in addressing the company's poor trading performance."

The letter said: “Unfortunately, we are deeply sorry that our attempts to find a solution have been to no avail and we have now had to accept the fact that the company’s position is unsustainable.

“On this basis, and with much regret, we have taken the difficult decision to wind-down the company in short order.

A letter given out to employees stating the intention to wind down the firm

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“As you will understand, the closure of the company will unfortunately have a direct impact on the company’s workforce and members of staff will be made redundant as a result of the closure.

The letter also states that the company will cease deliveries on August 15, with most staff being made redundant on August 16, although some staff will be kept on “to assist in the wind down of operations.”

A spokesman for the company again refused to comment on the closure yesterday, having previously admitted that efforts to address its poor performance had "not been successful".

'Angry and annoyed'

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Vicky Hall, aged 39, from Willenhall, was taken on as a delivery driver in June, and branded the company as “disgusting” for their handling of the closure.

She said: “I’m that angry and annoyed by this, it’s disgusting how we have been treated, I’m absolutely seething.

“I finished work on Wednesday at 6.30pm and I was given a photocopied letter.

Aspray lorries parked up yesterday at the firm's base in Willenhall

“They took me on in June, I loved the job, and there’s been people who have been here for 35 years, and they have been given the same letter as me.

"In 10 days that’s it, we’re done – they don’t care about us, I’m so angry.

"I’m saying this for those people that have been here for years, we’ve not heard anything from people higher up. “

A single lorry making its way out of the Willenhall depot

Another worker, who wished to stay anonymous, added: “I’m gutted.

“It is a worry, people here have families to look after, what are we supposed to do?”

Staff employed in the Aspray Group's other two divisions - Aspray Logistics and Aspray International - are not affected by the closure.

Formed in 1982, the company was family run before being taken over by Bushell Investment Group in March, shortly before it initiated a CVA an attempt to pay creditors back.

A CVA is an insolvency deal where a struggling company negotiates new agreement with its creditors to reduce costs and pay back debts.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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