Closure of solar panel firm after staff protest over pay

Walkout: Staff protested outside Creative Lead Finder in King Street, Leyland

Walkout: Staff protested outside Creative Lead Finder in King Street, Leyland

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A call centre has temporarily closed after staff staged a walk-out in protest over pay.

More than 100 workers at Creative Lead Finder in King Street, Leyland, walked out on Friday, claiming they had not been paid properly for six weeks.

Matthew Rufus, 28, from Leyland, is one of the workers who has been affected.

He said: “We’re meant to be paid fortnightly, but for the past six weeks it’s been in dribs and drabs.

“In total they owe me around £500, and it’s getting to the point where there’s no food in the cupboards. I’m worried that I’ll never see that money.”

The solar panel company opened as Ultra Energy in Kings Court seven months ago. Now director Mandy Jessop, has advised the workers to find another job.

In an email sent to her employees last week, Mrs Jessop wrote: “Leyland is temporarily closed until they are able to find the money to pay everyone what they are owed.

“I’ve been assured that every penny owed will be paid to people as soon as possible.

“In the meantime we are all in the same situation and job hunting.

“I will of course be more than happy to complete references for everyone.

“I apologise to you all that the company I’ve represented had massively impacted you all and has left many in impossible situations.”

Staff are also concerned about the involvement of the firm’s consultant, David Diaz, also known as David Black, whose solar energy companies have been investigated in the past and closed down.

A spokesman for the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, set up by the Renewable Energy Association, told the Evening Post that the company and Mr Diaz are ‘within the monitoring programme’ and the issue is ‘being looked into’.

A spokesman for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) said it had been contacted by 25 workers.

He said: “The main issue which seems to be arising is helping people to establish if they are self-employed or employees of the company.

“The difference between the employment statuses is significant because that determines what rights people have.”

Call CAB on 01772 424282.