doc

FURIOUS staff at a Hampshire transport firm have been hit by a “heartless” festive bombshell after being told they are losing their jobs immediately.

The 50 stunned workers at Elite Transport Services have been told the company is closing its depots at Southampton and Felixstowe, blaming a drop in business that has made them unviable.

Elite Transport boasts on its website of being one of the UK’s “top five container transport specialists” with a turnover of more than £40m.

It says: “Our reputation for providing quality services in the time-critical industry of container logistics is paramount to our success so far and is key to our plans for continued future growth.”

But drivers and office workers contracted to the logistics firms were called in at 7.30am on Saturday for a meeting at the Eling Wharf depot in Totton, where they were told the grim news they are losing their jobs.

One worker, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Daily Echo staff are “disgusted” at the way they have been treated.

He said staff have been promised they will be paid up until the end of the year, and would be losing their jobs straight away.

The angry employee said: “We had no warnings. We’ve had no consultation or anything.

“We just got a letter saying they’re ending our employment.

“It’s very heartless and shows no respect for long-serving members, or any members, really – there are some of the younger members with mortgages and bills to pay.

“Quite a few are absolutely disgusted by it. When you work for somebody for a long time and get treated like that it isn’t very nice.

“Two or three years ago the managing director came down to plead with us all to take a ten per cent pay cut, which we all agreed to because we wanted to avoid redundancies, but when it’s telling us we’re not wanted he left that to the regional manager.”

A company spokesman at Totton confirmed the depot is ceasing operations, except for keeping subcontractors going from the site.

He said: “It’s basically down to the work coming out of Southampton. There’s not enough for the size of the fleet.”

But he said he would not discuss redundancy payments, as that is dealt with by head office.

Calls to the Manchester office were not answered.