PwC under fire amid further job cuts

Workers at the Birkenhead yard staged an eleventh-hour protest yesterday against what they consider as PwC’s tardiness in selling the yard.

A PwC spokeswoman confirmed a demonstration had taken place at the yard but said she was unsure of the reason.

However she said further redundancies would be announced this afternoon ahead of any news on the outcome of bids for the yard.

PwC is considering one firm offer for the Birkenhead yard where 150 workers remain, but a rival management buy-out team is also tabling a bid.

The protesters supported by the GMB union, according to Liverpool’s Daily Post, included some of those workers laid off on Monday.

The union and yard workers are angered that while the receivers deliberate over the bids, work is being turned away. But the Big Five firm will not take on more work while a sell-off remains in the balance.

PwC laid off 42 workers on Monday and is expected to axe the remaining jobs at the other yards in Merseyside and Tyneside. A PwC spokeswoman said there were 150 jobs remaining at Birkenhead, 70 at Tyneside and one at Teeside.

The union is urging PwC to accept the management buy-out offer, which it believes to be the best chance of securing employment.

One worker interviewed, Barry Taylor, 47, from Rock Ferry, said: ‘There’s a ship in the basin right now called Sun Pegasus waiting to be repaired, yet the receivers continue to drag their feet.

‘The majority of men want PwC to accept Dave Gillam’s buy-out bid but it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. No one is listening.’

Dave Gillam and Stephen Brookfield, Birkenhead’s managing director and financial and commercial director, assisted by Ernst & Young Corporate Finance, have submitted a bid to purchase the business as a going concern.


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