The Australian buyer of the failed battery start-up Britishvolt has not paid its UK staff for the last four months, according to a report.
Recharge Industries stepped in to buy Britishvolt following the company’s disastrous collapse in January, which left hopes for Britain’s electric vehicle industry hanging by a thread.
But Recharge’s rescue bid has been plagued with problems.
In August, Recharge missed a deadline to pay for the business, prompting concerns a deal would fall through. Administrators EY said the final £2.5m instalment of an £8.6m payment, due on April 5th, was outstanding, meaning the company had defaulted on its agreement.
Following Britishvolt’s administration, 26 employees were kept on amid mass redundancies.
But the BBC reported that Recharge Industries stopped paying them in July, with more than half leaving the company as a result.
Pension commitments have not been met since the takeover, sources told the BBC. Staff have also complained of being locked out of computer systems and left unable to work after failed payments to an IT contractor.
Recharge Industries did not respond to a request for comment on the report.
However, Ben Kilbey, Britishvolt’s former communications director, told City A.M.: “The keys have been handed to, what appears to be, a complete shambles. Surely questions must be asked of the due diligence on the deal – on so many levels. It’s the people of Northumberland I feel for the most, utterly cheated.”
Quentin Willson, founder of the EV campaign group FairCharge, said: “It’s worrying enough that the U.K. can’t build an electric car battery factory but it also looks like we can’t even put one into proper administration either.”
“The Britishvolt debacle – not to mention HS2 – casts a long shadow over fee-driven experts and consultants who should be doing their jobs with better due diligence.”