The group ceased trading last week and the staff now know there is no guarantee that they will be paid their last month’s wages.But multi-millionaire Tom Scott, who is negotiating to buy the group, said today that although he could give no guarantees about their future he was mindful of the sad situation they were in, especially before Christmas.Mr Scott said he was likely to have more news about the practical way ahead for the group and staff later in the week when negotiations were completed.Mechanics are owed up to £2,000 each in an unpaid wage bill across the Channel Islands group which has escalated to £400,000.Around 100 men and women from the group’s Channel Island staff of over 200 stood in silence at the St Peter garage yesterday lunchtime as brand manager Craig Dempster spelt out the precarious nature of their working future.In the same uncertain position himself, he told staff that even if multi-millionaire Tom Scott did buy the group, there could be no guarantees that they will all be taken on.The staff, some of whom have worked there for over ten years, have experienced a month of growing uncertainty since Mr Scott bought the Five Oaks Garage site in St Peter for £4.9 million.In the weeks which followed he bought up £750,000 worth of stock.Staff who were waiting to hear about their future watched as manufacturers’ representatives removed other cars from the group’s forecourts to a secure place until the issue was resolved.Mechanics and apprentices found themselves in the unusual situation of being told by other retailers who they had dealt with for years that they could obtain parts for customers’ cars only if they paid cash.It is believed that they have not been addressed by the group’s owners about the growing crisis.Mr Dempster told staff that if Mr Scott was to restart the franchises they might get an interview and, if successful, there could be an option of getting an interest-free loan to cover their outstanding November salary.That loan would be repayable if they decided to leave the new company within the next 18 months.Some of the shocked staff said after the meeting that news that their month’s wages could be lost and the uncertainty of their future could not have come at a worst time for them and their young families as it was just before Christmas.’How do you tell children that Christmas has been cancelled this year?’ one of them said.Meanwhile, all Five Oaks garages in Guernsey, which have 100 staff, were also shut down yesterday.
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