Keeforce drivers texted the news their job may be terminated

BREAKING: Keeforce Drivers have been told via text message that they're job may no longer be available.

This comes as the wife of one driver contacted Big Rigs saying she was "disgusted" with the lack of communication and the fact that the drivers weren't told face to face.

However Administrator Brendan Richards from Ferrier Hodgson said there was no other way to get the message out simultaneously than to send a link via text to the latest employee update.

"We thought deeply through it," he said today.

Mr Richards said there were some 179 drivers employed by Keeforce and Fresh Produce Logistics and while some were addressed in person at sites, those on the road were sent the update at the same time in a link via text message.

He said it was a broad announcement telling the staff what to expect before he was able to work with operations staff and identify who would be out of a job which could occur in the next 24 to 48 hours.

It was the best way, he said, as calling each staff member could have led to the wrong information being passed around.

Big Rigs was contacted by two different parties that had received the employee update and have obtained a copy.

The wife of one driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said no one knew what was going on and this was the first she had heard of the possibility of redundancies.

"Someone needs to talk to the drivers," she said.

"Keeforce bit of more than they could chew," she said of the company going into administration.

The wife also said there were compliance issues with the company with drivers being told to keep going when they were required by law to stop.

"The word is they are getting redundancy capped at $2000 and only getting redundancy if they have been permanent for two years or more.  Most drivers are casual employees," she said.

While Fresh Produce Logistics are still going ahead business as usual Big Rigs had been told there are at least two expressions of interest for the sale of Keeforce that are in preliminary stages.

Mr Richards said the business would be restructured to support less customers and the staff numbers would come down significantly.

Affected customers will be notified immediately, the employee update said, and be advised that from today Keeforce would be "reducing loads where possible and not taking any new work from the affected customers."

Drivers will be advised today whether the truck they are driving will be returned to the depot or to Pickles yards.

The update said wages processed up to February 3 for Keeforce and February 10 for FPL, employees who remain employed will continue to be paid on Tuesday or Thursday while terminated employees will receive any outstanding wages from the administration period in the following pay run.

Staff have also been told that failing to turn up to work would be taken as resignation and redundancy entitlements forfeited.

Mr Richards said he had not found any compliance issues with the company after reviewing their audits and conducting his own Chain of Responsibility Audit, and said they appeared to be compliant.

More to come. 

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