Stones Ashford situation 'totally unacceptable'

Jo Francis
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Bosses at Henry Stone Printers have been accused of ‘stealing Christmas’ after employees at sister site Stones Ashford were not paid their November wages, while the promised administrator is yet to materialise at the site.

Shopfloor employees were due to be paid yesterday (28 November), with pay day for office staff scheduled for tomorrow. The business employs around 111 people.

“I was quite hopeful that we would be paid, but that hasn’t happened,” said an employee. “It’s outrageous, we’ve all done a service for the company, trying to help keep things going for them. I’m speechless.”

Another source close to the company said: “There is still no clarity. Even that letter [from managing director Richard Walsh] doesn’t say anything concrete about us not being employed from such and such a date. We haven’t got a P45 or a P60.”

Union Unite is holding a meeting for Stones Ashford employees at 2pm tomorrow (30 November), at nearby pub The Albion in Willesborough.

Regional officer Phil Silkstone said: “Unite was told an administrator would be appointed yesterday but this does not appear to have happened, which is totally unacceptable, as is the fact that wages expected were not paid so close to Christmas. It is clear Henry Stone is stealing Christmas from Stones Ashford employees.”

Unite will also have information at the meeting about the potential assistance available from The Printing Charity for out-of-pocket workers.

“We are pleased to be able to get that information in front of Stones Ashford employees. We are encouraging people to call us and we can work things out from there,” Printing Charity chief executive Neil Lovell told PrintWeek. “It’s usually best if we can get involved before people have left an organisation. Where we can help we will definitely jump in.”

The union has already vowed to use every tool at its disposal to secure pay justice for workers at the site, describing the behaviour of the directors of the business as “contemptible”.

Stone Ashford ceased operations suddenly on 17 November when the Kent firm’s power was cut off.

Henry Stone Printers managing director Richard Walsh has not responded to requests for comment.


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