Unique staff shut out until Friday


Unique Distribution’s warehouse in Hayes has been unmanned for three days. No warehouse staff have been allowed into the building since Monday morning (February 25), when they were instructed to go home because Unique has no completion certificate for the premises and workers on the site are not insured.

Unique commercial director David Hinc told Mobile News: "We have sent staff home because we have not got a completion certificate or our new premises. This compromises our employers liability insurance but e hope to be in a position bring staff back into the office tomorrow. But n the meantime our phones are being manned by staff who are working emotely."

Nevertheless, it leaves Unique unable to take delivery of new stock or issue handsets and accessories from its warehouse, which it shares with several other trading businesses belonging to parent company IGB. Staff told Mobile News it was "chaos", and said they were worried for their paycheck and jobs.

"We were told to go home on Monday morning because we weren’t insured to be there. They’ve put up a note on the warehouse entrance to notify staff and visitors of the situation. It is chaotic. We’ve been told we’ll be back in either Friday (February 29) or Monday (March 3). None of us know if we’ll get paid Friday and, to be honest, many of us are starting to look for work elsewhere," said one staffer.

Hinc replied: "I am not aware of any reason to suggest that pay won’t go through Friday
and anyone who is thinking of leaving the company should speak to one of our directors or their line manager about it."

Unique parent company IGB is being investigated by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for VAT fraud. The investigation focuses on transactions that took place during 2005 between IGB handset trading companies.

On February 18, a receiver appointed to IGB by HMRC was dismissed. IGB’s assets remain "under restraint". However leading VAT specialist The Khan Partnership has obtained variations on the freezing order to allow Unique to trade as the case continues.

Unique managing director Andy Tow left the company last week to join rival distributor Data Select in an unspecified capacity.