TAXI FIRM LIFELINE FOR TOM WORKERS
Rescue plans after closure of vehicle rental firm
More than a hundred devastated employees made redundant after Airdrie firm TOM Vehicle Rental ceased trading have been offered a lifeline by a local taxi firm.
Shell- shocked staff received the bombshell news that the 27-year-old business was closing its doors during a meeting with bosses last week.
But kind-hearted Monklands outfit Penny Cars has stepped in to invite TOM employees to apply for private hire driver roles – with more than a quarter of the local TOM workforce already taking them up on their offer.
In a Facebook post shortly after the TOM administration became public, Penny Cars stated: “It would be great to see the Airdrie business community come together and help as much as we can.”
Penny Cars’ manager, Kenny Wade, told the Advertiser: “We were very sad to hear the news about TOM, but are keen to do our bit to help the employees who’ve been
made redundant. We’ve had 37 applications from TOM staff since we posted the Facebook message.
“The jobs we are offering are self-employed positions, but we will take any interested parties through the full application process.
“We are all about supporting the Monklands community and hope to do all we can for the TOM staff at what must be a very difficult and worrying time for them.”
Airdrie & Shotts MSP Alex Neil – who called TOM’s demise a “tragedy”for the town – has also revealed that Paisley-based truck and van repair centre McKinnon & Forbes Ltd has invited former TOM employees to apply for “mechanic and panel beater posts in the firm’s body shop”.
Last week’s shocking news about TOM came just 15 months after Equistone Partners Europe took a“majority stake”in the company in a deal believed to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
A crushed TOM employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser: “All the staff were told at a meeting. It was totally out of the blue.
“We had heard some rumours, but nothing concrete, and had all just decided that we were going to get on with it.
“Now we are just all in shock. There are about 100 staff here and it’s really hard on all of them.
“It’s a major loss to Airdrie; there are a lot of emotional people right now.”
TOM – which employs more than 500 people across 10 depots nationwide – was founded as a single site providing MOTs back in 1991 and hires out commercial vans, cars, trucks and trailers to public and private customers.
Just two years ago, the firm was named one of the 1000 fastest-growing companies in Britain.
But trading has now ceased and 342 employees have been made redundant across 11 locations in Scotland and England.
A total of 86 members of staff will be retained at the group’s head office in Airdrie and across the depot and dealership network for up to four weeks to assist administrators Ernst & Young with an“orderly wind-down of the business”and respond to any customer queries.
The administrators – who have taken control of TOM Group Limited and its Scottish subsidiary companies TOM Vehicle Rental Limited and Caledonian Truck & Van Limited – have successfully managed to sell the business and assets of a third subsidiary, Alistair Fleming Limited, which is based in Kilmarnock.
Colin Dempster, joint administrator, said:“The group has incurred operational difficulties and associated liquidity problems in recent years that reflect low utilisation of their rental vehicles, as a result of a competitive market, and changing customer preferences.
“Despite the best efforts to save the group, it could not continue to operate as a going concern and administrators were appointed.
“It is with regret that 342 people have been made redundant.”
Shell-shocked TOM staff were taken by surprise