Stewart Milne Group workers 'disgusted' with treatment after redundancies

Over 200 members of staff were made redundant on Monday.

Stewart Milne Group workers have told STV News they are “disgusted” with how they have been treated by the firm after it collapsed into administration.

One of the UK’s biggest housebuilders, headquartered in Aberdeen, appointed administrators Teneo on Monday with 217 members of staff informed they had lost their jobs.

Founded by former Aberdeen FC chairman Stewart Milne in 1975, employees said they were told they would not be paid for some hours completed before Christmas.

Some staff feel “disgusted” about the treatment they have received since the administration notice and say there is uncertainty about redundancy packages and pay.

Andrew Marnoch, a painter and decorator, told STV News: “Everybody is just disgusted with how they’ve treated them. No one knows about the redundancy packages.

“No one knows how they’re going to get paid their money they’re due.

“The company made us work a whole week before Christmas.

“We’re due that money, but we don’t know if we’re getting it.”

Lewis Marnoch, also a plumber, said: “It was disgusting how it was handled, really.

“There is folk that have worked there 30, 40 plus years, I’ve been there myself nine and to be told that, ‘that’s it, see you later’, and just thrown off the job pretty much. It was a shock for everybody.”

Steven Heenan, a builder, said: “There’s absolutely no help for any of the workers there.

“We’ve all just been completely cut off. So it’s scary. It’s frightening.

“And it’s a little bit unnerving because you don’t know what’s around the corner over the next week or two weeks.

“I mean, I’ve got to now start thinking about bills when my next wage is coming in. You were meant to get 12 weeks consultation period. We never even had 12 minutes.”

Teneo said it was working with the Redundancy Payments Service to support employees in recovering “any statutory entitlements to which they may be entitled”.

The Stewart Milne Group has its headquarters in Aberdeen with offices in, Edinburgh, Glasgow and other UK bases.

It has been in significant debt for more than a decade.

Lloyds Banking Group said the collapse followed several years of special agreements, including multiple extensions on its debts.

A spokesperson for Lloyds Banking Group: “When a company experiences financial difficulties, we will always try to find a solution that places the business onto a sounder financial footing without the need for any insolvency process.

“Unfortunately, despite several years of support and forbearance, including multiple maturity extensions to the borrowing, this has not been possible in this instance.

“We will now work with the administrators, as they consider the best options for the business.”

Homeowners have told STV News they feel 'anxious' about the future on the Group's sites. Photo: STV News.STV News

A sales process was run by the firm from May last year but directors made the decision to put each of the Stewart Milne companies that operate active development sites in Scotland into administration.

The Group has faced “significant challenges” in recent years, with financial uncertainty related to rising interest rates, cost increases and a reduction in consumer confidence.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Milne said: “I am devastated by this totally unexpected outcome of the sale process and struggling to accept it, given the profound impact it will have on employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers.

“Stewart Milne Group was up for sale and, following significant interest, two bids were submitted. The bank has not accepted either bid and withdrawn its funding which left the directors with no option but to appoint administrators.

“I tried everything I could to find a way to achieve a better outcome for the business and the people who depend on it. I believe one of the bids could have delivered a comparable, financial return to administration and, crucially, allowed the business to continue to operate, safe-guarding hundreds of jobs and protecting livelihoods.”

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