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KnowledgePool UK goes titsup

Former employees miss out

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KnowledgePool Limited - which provides training and learning development programmes to European blue chip companies - has been placed in administration.

Joint Administrators from Menzies Corporate Restructuring (MCR) were called in last week following the firm's failure to achieve sufficient turnover for 2003.

The business is currently up for sale and MCR reports that it has already received a "number of enquiries" from interested parties.

At this stage MCR doesn't expect "significant redundancies" among the firm's 200 employees, who are based at the company's offices in Bracknell, Brighton, Stockport, the US and Canada.

However, this has brought little comfort for the 30 or so people made redundant in November last year.

They were forced to receive their payouts in monthly payments because the firm told them it couldn't afford to pay the cash in one lump sum.

Many of the senior staff axed last year, including consultants and project managers, had long careers spanning back to when KnowledgePool was part of ICL.

They only received one month's payment before the company was placed in administration and are unlikely to receive their full entitlement.

In the case of Paul Doherty, he's owed more than £90,000 after spending 25 years at the company.

He's angry that less than a year after being sold by Fujitsu, KnowledgePool has gone down the pan, leaving long-serving and loyal employees like him with next to nothing.

Paul told The Register: "We felt we were still Fujitsu employees and we feel that we've been offloaded by Fujitsu.

"The position is so bad some people won't be able to pay their mortgage this month.

"We've already written to the Fujitsu chief executive to appeal to Fujitsu's better nature. We want Fujitsu to make good this perceived injustice," he said.

A spokesman for the IT giant wouldn't be drawn on the matter except to say: "KnowledgePool is no longer our company therefore we are unable to comment."

A spokesman for MCR said: "Regarding staff made redundant from KnowledgePool in November 2003, we can confirm that they will be paid their statutory entitlement to redundancy and that this will be paid by the Government.

"Under UK law, contractual redundancy is treated on an unsecured basis, therefore, there is no guarantee that this will be paid if a company is in administration.

"We would urge anyone who has been made redundant to get in touch with the administrators by writing to the following address: Menzies Corporate Restructuring, 17-19 Foley Street, London W1W 6DW." ®

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