3/19/2009 3:38:00 PM
Staff suffer as Advantage Cellular formally falls into administration
Staff at Advantage Cellular were dealt the crushing news this afternoon (Thursday 19 March) that they have had their jobs axed, they won’t be paid this month, and won’t receive any redundancy pay.
The news was delivered to the estimated 30 staff at a meeting at Advantage’s offices in Didcot by the administrators, Smith and Williamson, along with the agent, ERA Solutions.
The Polish backers were not in attendance as had been expected, after pulling the investment in the company.
Staff feel aggrieved they will receive no redundancy pay from the company despite Advantage appearing to have been voluntarily wound up rather than going bankrupt.
The administrator informed staff they are entitled to £350 statutory pay.
There is no legal obligation on Advantage to pay any of the staff as the company has only been running for less than two years – below the minimum level required for mandatory redundancy pay.
Staff will now look for employment elsewhere.
Advantage’s main network partner, 3, was also notified and the operator is now looking to recovering an unknown amount of outstanding payments from the holding company.
Several dealers are also owed money, but have been paid so far by Advantage, up to but excluding last Friday (12 March).
The matter’s next phase is a potential legal challenge from former CEO and chairman (and still majority shareholder) Simon Earle, who claims he wasn’t informed before the company was pushed into administration.
Instructions were given from billionaire investor Roman Karkosik two weeks ago, requiring all transactions to be referred back to Poland for authorisation.
The situation was brought to a head late last week as, despite trading profitably in recent months, the distributor had become burdened with financial problems of its sister companies, Business Solutions and ExtremeMobile.
Extreme had been a virtual network planned to target the youth market, and had secured a wholesale deal with Vodafone.