‘Save stricken Wilko’s 12,000 staff’: Union tells administrator PwC to ‘look carefully’ at bids
Wilko administrators will be urged to ‘look carefully’ at bids that would save the most jobs at a meeting with union officials today.
A GMB spokesman said it had been a ‘rollercoaster’ weekend after it seemed ‘all hope was gone’ for staff when administrator PwC warned of imminent redundancies at the stricken homeware chain.
The union, which represents some of its 12,000 staff, hopes administrators will clarify the reasons for any rejected bids today.
The GMB said it wanted reassurances that administrators were not ‘knocking back’ any ‘credible offers’.
PwC has been trying to secure the best value for creditors, including restructuring specialist Hilco, which is owed £40million.
Meeting: The GMB union, which represents some of Wilko’s 12,000 staff, hopes administrators will clarify the reasons for any rejected bids today
But last night the GMB wrote to Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch about ‘extremely concerning’ claims that some bidders had ‘difficulties engaging’ with PwC and there was a ‘clear conflict of interest’ for Hilco, which it claimed was acting as ‘both an adviser to the business and a creditor’.
Last week it was announced that thousands of redundancies and hundreds of store closures would begin shortly after talks to find a buyer failed.
But there were hopes that job losses could be avoided for two years after an 11th-hour bid from M2 Capital at the weekend. The private equity firm also aims to give staff a 3.5 per cent pay rise.
‘We have the best offer on the table,’ M2 chairman Robert Mantse told the Mail, after submitting a formal offer three minutes before a deadline on Friday.
Canadian tycoon Doug Putman, who owns HMV, is also bidding to save 350 stores and pay off debts to Hilco. Wilko rivals B&M and Poundland are also in talks to take some of its stores.