Unite national officer Louisa Bull described yesterday’s interim results announcement, which included a “material uncertainty” note should trading at the group deteriorate further, as “very worrying news… we are seeking urgent clarification from the company about the future”.
“The employment security of our more than 250 members at Gateshead, and at Debden where we have about 150 members, as well as those at other smaller sites across the UK, is Unite’s prime concern,” Bull said.
“The potentially precarious future of De La Rue, a major UK manufacturing company, should be ringing alarm bells across government.
“Unite will be doing all it can in supporting our members at this very difficult time and will continue to campaign strongly to keep vital printing work in the UK,” she added.
Unite had previously criticised the government’s “short-sighted and blinkered decision” to award the new £490m contract for blue post-Brexit passports to Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto, because “it seriously undermined the financial viability of the Gateshead operation”.
Unite also slammed the £50,000 job-seeking package given to former CEO Martin Sutherland – at the helm during a serious of setbacks for the PLC including the passport debacle – as “an outrageous reward for failure”.
Sutherland’s total remuneration jumped from £783k to £954k in the financial year to the end of March 2019.
As well as the 170 lay-offs at Gateshead, Printweek understands that a swathe of jobs have also gone at the PLC’s Basingstoke HQ.
De La Rue employed 2,827 employees worldwide last year, 57% of them in the UK.
City watchers have speculated that the struggling security printer could opt for a rights issue or might find itself the subject of a takeover bid. In 2011 French rival Oberthur offered 935p a share for the group, but the offer was rejected.