BritishVolt, a British battery manufacturer, is facing a deepening crisis as reports emerge that half of its workforce has resigned after not receiving wages for four consecutive months.
The company, which had ambitious plans to establish a £4 billion “gigafactory” for electric vehicle battery packs near Blyth in Northumberland, has been grappling with financial difficulties since its collapse earlier this year. The situation was troubling when Australian firm Recharge Industries took over BritishVolt. However, it led to controversies, including a tax investigation by Australian police.
BritishVolt Financial Crisis
Since the acquisition, the once-promising BritishVolt has been mired in financial instability. The BBC reported that employees have not been paid since July. The fallout includes more than half of the remaining 26-member workforce leaving due to the lack of payment.
Recharge Industries, the Australian outfit that assumed control has not only failed to meet wage obligations but also allegedly neglected pension commitments and left staff locked out of crucial computer systems.
The situation raises serious concerns about the future of BritishVolt, which had aimed to produce high-performance sports car batteries at a state-of-the-art gigafactory.
Owner David Collard of Recharge Industries claims the company is on the brink of securing external investment to salvage BritishVolt. However, scepticism looms among the remaining staff, with one employee calling Collard’s statements “BS” and expressing doubt about the repeated promises of an imminent investor.
The financial uncertainties surrounding BritishVolt have overshadowed the original vision of maintaining the company’s name and contributing to the burgeoning electric vehicle market. Despite assuring ongoing efforts to secure funding, Collard faces scepticism from the remaining staff and the Northumberland County Council, which reportedly harbours serious doubts about Collard’s credentials.
The situation underscores the broader challenges that employees face when their employers fail to meet financial obligations. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, where your employer has not paid you what you are owed, it is crucial to understand your rights and take appropriate action.
For a guide on wages and pay, visit the Redmans Solicitors employment rights guide.
What to Do If Your Employer Has Not Paid You
- Check Your Payslip
If you haven’t been paid or suspect underpayment, review your payslip for discrepancies. It’s a crucial document that can help you understand the nature of the problem.
- Communicate with Your Employer
Initiate a conversation with your employer to understand the reasons behind the non-payment. If it’s a mistake, request immediate rectification. You shouldn’t have to wait until the next payday for resolution.
- Understand Your Entitlements
Ensure you’ve been paid for all hours and entitlements such as sick leave, training time, holidays, and parental leave. If you are unsure about your payslip or entitlements, seek clarification from your employer or the payroll department.
- Consider Legal Action
If communication fails and the issue persists, you have the option to take legal action against your employer. This can involve filing a claim with an employment tribunal.
- National Minimum Wage Compliance
Verify that your pay complies with the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage. If not, your employer may violate the law.
- Documentation and Evidence
Keep records of your payslips, any communication with your employer, and any additional evidence related to the non-payment issue. This documentation can be crucial if you decide to pursue legal action.
- Raise a Grievance
Check if your employer has a formal grievance procedure and follow it if available. Even without a formal process, expressing your concerns and grievances can prompt your employer to address the issue.
- Consult with an Adviser
If you find the situation complex or need guidance, consult with an employment adviser. They can provide insights into your rights and potential courses of action.
Remember, legal action should be a last resort, especially if you plan to continue working for your employer.
While the situation at BritishVolt is a stark example of financial instability within a company, employees have rights and avenues to seek resolution when faced with unpaid wages. Taking informed steps and seeking advice can empower you to address such challenges and protect your financial interests.