'I'm absolutely devastated.' So claimed Mark Langford, the boss of the Amulet Group, which controls the Accident Group. That's the firm that disgracefully sacked 2,400 workers by text message last week.
Langford has a nerve to claim he cares about the workers' plight. He rejected calls for their wages to be paid out of his own pocket, saying he was skint.
The workers were woken at 6am on Thursday of last week by text messages telling them to return all company property to their offices immediately. At midday another text told them they were sacked – and wouldn't be paid for their last month's work.
A worker from Birmingham said, 'I have bills to pay, children to be responsible for and a landlord to answer to but I am literally penniless. Words cannot sum up how I feel.' The workers were not allowed to join a union. But that didn't stop them taking direct action. They stormed Accident Group offices and reclaimed company property in lieu of their unpaid wages.
Russell Bennet, a 27 year old photographer from Sutton Coldfield, described the scene in one office. 'The place was a complete mess. People had been here for hours and taken anything they could get their hands on – computers, coffee machines and even some photocopiers.'
The police were called to protect Accident Group offices in Speke, Liverpool, after sacked workers were seen loading computer equipment and chairs into their cars. Their boss, Mark Langford and his wife have amassed a £40 million fortune. They own a Regency mansion in a 25-acre estate in Cheshire, a villa in Spain and a fleet of luxury cars.
His Amulet Group got profits of £17 million last year and last month was listed as the fifth fastest profit growth company in Britain. Last Christmas Langford won lavish praise by promising the NSPCC charity a £6 million donation. Like Langford's workforce, the charity is still waiting for him to pay up.
Jane Calverley, a worker from Liverpool, told Socialist Worker, 'It was disgusting seeing the sacked workers in Manchester and Liverpool. Most people in this region would give the Accident Group workers their full support in taking back what they were owed. Good on 'em.'