Express e-staff gear up for legal challenge

Dotcom life gets ugly

The former new media employees of The Express have hijacked the newspaper's site to draw attention to the way they feel they have been mistreated.

They claim that Express Newspapers, Northern & Shell and Seymour Pierce - which have all owned express.co.uk over the last ten weeks - are playing 'pass the parcel' with people's lives.

Visitors to the site are faced with a press release highlighting the way 46 employees have been treated following the sale of four Web sites by Express newspapers. They claim they have been deprived of notice payments, salary payments and redundancy payments.

And they're threatening legal action if their outstanding wages are not paid.

Michael Streeter, a spokesman for estranged employees, said: "This bears all the hallmarks of a cynical legal ploy to avoid paying staff any notice or redundancy money.

"If this is not illegal, it is certainly immoral. We are consulting with lawyers to see whether the deal that Seymour Pierce and Northern & Shell have done is within the law.

"We now have a situation where three multi-million pound companies - United Business Media, Northern & Shell and Seymour Pierce - have played 'pass the parcel' with their financial obligations to 46 staff.

When the music stopped, none of them wanted to pay."

But Seymour Pierce - which bought the four former Express sites from Northern & Shell for £1 - says it is not responsible.

Chris Steel, a spokesman for Seymour Pierce told The Register: "We don't have anything to feel guilty about. These people were employed by companies that were virtually broke.

"We don't believe Seymour Pierce has any liability."

He added that Seymour Pierce spent a "six figure sum" trying to find a buyer for the sites.

Express.co.uk, Allaboutparents.co.uk, sportlive.co.uk and companyleader.com were placed into liquidation earlier this week after it was said they were loosing between £7 million and £8 million a year. ®

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