Kent

Staff lose jobs at Henry Stone Printers in Ashford mid-shift without notice

A meeting was held after nearly two weeks of no answers
Image caption A meeting was held after nearly two weeks without answers

More than 100 people were told to leave their jobs without notice or pay that was owed to them.

Staff at Henry Stone Printers in Ashford were mid-shift when the electricity was cut off and an announcement made asking staff to collect their belongings and leave.

At a union meeting earlier, employees said that two weeks on they are still in the dark about what is going on.

The company said "substantial commercial risk" stopped it trading.

Image caption Employee Judith Radcliffe's family worked for the company for generations

Electricity supplier E.ON said it had "no choice" but to cut off the power after "significant unpaid debt".

Employee Judith Radcliffe said: "I feel sick. They had loyal people in there, who had worked their all their lives, and they work hard. My parents worked there, and that's how they met.

"We don't seem to have any information coming to us. November's money hasn't been paid and there's people with mortgages. Where are they going to find the money for that?"

The firm, which employed 111 people, ceased operations on 17 November.

Image caption Philip Silkston of union Unite

At the union meeting in in Willesborough, Philip Silkston of Unite said: "It is extremely unusual that the company has failed to engage with us and the directors have failed to engage with their own workforce.

"If it realised it had financial constraints then it should have got around the table prior to the cut off of the electricity."

The BBC understands administrators will issue redundancy notices for all staff on Friday.

Henry Stone Printers managing director Richard Walsh declined to comment further, but a statement on the company's website said: "A combination of chronic under-investment by the previous owners of the site, inherited low margin customer contracts and persistent negative market rumours by competitors have created a substantial commercial risk for the business."

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