Limbo for Terrapin workers left without pay after company goes into administration

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AROUND 30 workers have been left in limbo – and without pay – after building experts Terrapin Limited went into administration.

An administration order was made against the company, based in Bond Avenue, Bletchley and by then known as Building Hire and Leasing Limited, on August 22, but confusion still remains over the future of its employees.

One former worker, who did not want to be named, has blasted both administrator, HJS Recovery, and his former employers saying: “Neither is taking responsibility and we still don’t know what’s going on.”

According to the Open Corporates website, which records information about companies around the world, Terrapin Limited has been liquidated, while one company it spawned, Terrapin Construction Limited, was dissolved in May 2012.

Open Corporates also confirms that Building Hire and Leasing Limited was formerly known as Terrapin Limited and is currently in administration.

But a new company, Terrapin Hire Limited, remains active.

In a letter dated August 31, the director of that company, Steven Dale, wrote to our source to say HJS Recovery wrongly believed employees of Building Hire and Leasing had been transferred over to another company.

Mr Dale, who according to Open Companies was a director at Building Hire and Leasing until January – the same month Terrapin Hire was incorporated, wrote: ‘Unfortunatley due to a miss communication HJS Recovery are of the belief that you, as an employee of Building Hire and Leasing are to be transferred over to an alternative company.

‘As you are aware salaries and wages have been settled by other business and directors as way of a loan to Building Hire and Leasing for a substantial period as an investment to keep the company in operation.

‘At no stage has this constitued a TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations) of employment and as such you remain employed by Building Hire and Leasing Limited’.

But a separate letter from HJS joint administartor Stephen Powell, written on September 19, insisted employees had been transferred to another company – namely Terrapin Hire Limited.

Mr Powell wrote: ‘I understand that four contracts in the company’s schedule of work... were in the name of Terrapin Hire Limited.

‘Those contracts were therefore transferred to Terrapin Hire Limited’.

He added that Terrapin Hire may since have transferred the contracts to yet another company, Dale Acquisitions Limited.

Our source said: “We have been caught up in a protracted argument between the employer and the administrators. Neither is taking responsibility and we still don’t know what’s going on.

“This is a battle and we are stuck in the middle. The administrators are saying our contracts were passed on to another company and that they are acting on behalf of our former employers and not this alternative one.

“There are grievances with unpaid wages and pensions and we have been left in limbo.”

Both the administrators and representatives for Terrapin Hire Limited and Building Hire and Leasing have failed to return repeated calls from the Citizen asking them to comment.