EMPLOYEES who say they were unfairly sacked by a printing firm have spoken out against “ruthless” former bosses.
Around 88 workers were reportedly given the news by directors at Bluetree Group in Manvers days before the country went into lockdown, said upset former employee Patrick Cartledge.
“We were led to believe nobody needed to worry, there was plenty of money in the bank,” said the dispatcher.
“Then all of a sudden they started sacking people, they said everyone was not performing well.
“I started in August and had passed my three-month probation period. I’d had one-to-one supervision and never had any issues brought up at all, then this happens.”
Mr Cartledge said staff had been individually summoned to meetings on March 19 — four days before the country went into lockdown — and a statement had been read to them by a manager.
Bluetree said the job losses had been made before government help had been announced — but refused to confirm numbers.
Mr Cartledge said: “I was told I wasn’t suitable for the job and they have got to let me go. Others were told they weren’t hitting targets, which is a load of rubbish.
“My locker key was taken from me and I was escorted off site.
“I was just gobsmacked. There were rumours they were going to let people go due to Covid-19, we thought we would be made redundant but they actually sacked us.”
He added: “I don’t know if what they did is legal, but because we were employed less than two years I don’t know what we can do about it?
“They were not bothered. They seem ruthless, there was no empathy at all whatsoever.
“Escorting me off site, I felt like I had done something wrong.
“I don’t understand why they didn’t furlough people. That’s what baffles me.”
The 46-year-old, of Mexborough, said the sacking was a mark on his character, adding: “They make out they’re a really caring firm on the surface but once you scratch it they treat you like dirt.”
An employee of 17 months said she felt angry at how she had been treated.
The woman, who did not wish to be named, said: “They kept saying: ‘Everything is fine.’”
After being summoned to a meeting, she was sacked after being read “a generic bit of paragraph”.
The woman said she was worried about how she would pay her bills and it had badly affected her depression and anxiety.
She added: “They don’t care about you.”
The father of another employee said his son also had a “hastily arranged one-to-one” and was told due to the coronavirus and a downturn in business he would be let go.
The dad added: “He received a letter the next day, as did others, saying he was dismissed due to poor performance. He was told this had been sent in error and they would ‘sort it’.
“He then received another letter saying he was dismissed because of his ‘unsuitability for the role’.
“I am led to believe that those with under two years’ service were sacked and only those with more were made redundant.”
The father said the firm’s tactics were “underhand” in order to avoid “correct redundancy procedures”.
A Bluetree spokesman said “tough decisions” had been made to protect the business.
He added: “At the point that the business made these difficult choices there was no government support that the business qualified for. The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was announced after these changes were made.”
He declined to confirm the number of job losses but said 88 was “significantly overstated”.