A TROUBLED bus company could be permanently back on the road within days, its bosses claim.
Velvet – which traded as Black Velvet Travel – was saved from the brink of closure 36 hours after going into administration earlier this month.
The firm temporarily secured its services and 25 jobs were saved when another transport company forged an 11th hour deal to prevent it from collapsing.
Now company bosses are confident that talks to finalise a deal saving the company are imminent.
But it comes with furious employees plotting a revolt after being left empty-handed on payday and fearing that the deal might not go through.
As previously reported the former interim deal sparked a fresh bus war as rival company Bluestar – which had temporarily stepped in to cover some of Velvet’s services – continued to run buses on the same routes.
A number of other bus companies, including Xelabus and Wheelers, also covered some of the routes.
A statement released on behalf of the company on Friday said: “The future of Hampshire bus company Black Velvet Travel Limited could be determined in the next few days.
“Insolvency and restructuring specialists from accountancy firm Chantrey Vellacott hope a deal to secure the long-term future of bus services across the community could be completed in a matter of days.”
Matthew Fox, a partner at Chantrey Vellacott, said: “Talks have been taking place over the last week with a view to a well-established company resurrecting Black Velvet Travel and Velvet buses returning to the road on a long-term basis.
“Those talks are at a vital stage and, while nothing is certain, I would hope they would be concluded positively in a matter of days.
“If agreement is reached and the deal goes through, staff will of course be paid for the hours they are working.”
But one former employee, who is still owed five weeks’ wages from the company, said that colleagues are angry at being kept waiting for money, while overtime is also being slashed.
Many of those out of pocket are employees who initially cancelled job offers elsewhere when hearing that the company was up and running again.
The worker, who refused to give his name, said: “We are desperate to get our money.
“We’ve all got families to feed and mortgages to pay. We are being treated like cattle and morale is really low.
“They’ve given us false hope by getting us to come back to get the business up and running again but we are getting no pay.
“They’ve stitched us up.”