Haulage workers face uncertain future

WORKERS at a leading Suffolk haulage firm are today facing an uncertain future after the company went into administration.

Dave Gooderham

WORKERS at a leading Suffolk haulage firm are today facing an uncertain future after the company went into administration.

Staff at family-run Leggett's Transport were told the shock news on Friday - less than two months after agreeing to take a 10% pay cut aimed at staving off redundancy.

It is believed some redundancies had already been agreed but angry employees last night said they were “angry and despondent” with more than 70 managers, staff and drivers thought to be under threat.

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A spokesman for administrators, Smith & Williamson, last night confirmed the company would continue trading while a buyer was sought.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “We knew there were redundancies going ahead but we knew nothing about the administrators until Friday.

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“We are all very despondent and angry. We have a very uncertain future and I am feeling very angry towards the company. All we were told is that the administrators had been called in by the banks.”

A statement on the company website read: “Gregory Andrew Palfrey and Stephen John Adshead of Smith & Williamson Limited were appointed Joint Administrators of the Company on 3 July 2009 in the High Court of Justice, Bristol District Registry.

“The Joint Administrators contract as agents of the Company only and without personal liability. All goods are sold as seen and without warranty.”

In May, the EADT revealed that all staff at the company, which started in the 1960s, had accepted a 10% drop in pay as the under pressure hauliers industry struggled with the effects of the national economic downturn.

Speaking at the time, Roy Leggett, sales manager, praised the reaction of staff who took the pay cut - a decision he said was not taken lightly.

Mr Leggett said some staff had already taken voluntary redundancy and that “every area of cost” had been scrutinised.

Many of the problems have come because imports through Felixstowe, Britain's biggest container port, are down 16 to 20%.

A spokesman for Smith & Williamson declined to comment any further on the statement on Leggett's website.

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