Staff revolt | Half of battery maker's workforce quits after reportedly going unpaid for four months

Half of battery maker's workforce quits after reportedly going unpaid for four months

Staff at a British battery manufacturing company have not been paid for the last four months after the company was acquired by an Australian firm, according to new reports.

The BBC reports that Recharge Industries, which assumed control of Britishvolt after the latter went into administration in January 2023, stopped paying employees in July. After a series of redundancies, the surviving workforce numbered around 26, but now more than half of this group have also quit due as a result of not being paid, the BBC stated.

Allegations also persist regarding unmet pension obligations and an IT contractor's non-payment, which has locked employees out of critical computer systems.

The lack of wage payments is just one of the financial challenges that have riddled Britishvolt since Recharge Industries took charge, including the non-payment of around £2.5 million, which remains outstanding long after it was originally due, according to the broadcaster.

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Nevertheless, insiders within Recharge Industries remain steadfast in their assertion that a new investor deal is on the horizon.

But some Britishvolt employees appear sceptical about this prospect. As one employee told the BBC: "We've heard this time and time again since August. He tells us there's an investor waiting. But he can't tell us who it is. It's always the same story." 

Another employee went so far as to label Collard's claims as “BS”.

What is Britishvolt?

Britishvolt was a fledgling enterprise with grand aspirations, aspiring to establish a £4 billion "gigafactory" to produce battery packs for the next wave of electric vehicles. The proposed plant was set to take root on the grounds of a decommissioned power station near Blyth in Northumberland, an ideal location blessed with a deepwater port and excellent access to transportation networks. Yet, the venture grappled with financial difficulties and plunged into administration earlier this year.

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After reviewing numerous offers, the administrators at EY decided to sell Britishvolt's assets to Recharge Industries for an agreed sum of £8.57 million. EY has confirmed that £6.1 million was received upon the initial completion of the transaction, leaving a substantial balance outstanding.

Although the majority of Britishvolt's workforce was laid off following the company's entry into administration, a group of 26 employees was retained. If the BBC’s reports are accurate, that number would now stand at around 12 to 13 at most.

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