Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/21/amen_via_strike/

Amenworld workers strike over proposed VIA sale

Just say 'non'

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 21st April 2005 14:22 GMT

Workers at European web hosting outfit Amenworld have been on strike for last week or so after discovering that parent company VIA NET.WORKS has signed a letter of agreement to be snapped up by UK ISP Claranet.

Staff claim they only found out about the deal after reading press reports and are outraged at the lack of consultation. They say they've been left in limbo made worse by VIA NET.WORKS' lack of communication and failure to give them any reassurance about their future.

Matters have become even more unsettled after striking workers claimed senior members of staff have been shunted out of the company.

At this stage it's unclear how many people have joined the industrial action. In a statement workers said: "To date 100 per cent of Amenworld UK & Amen Spain - and 90 per cent of customer service representatives at Amen France - are on strike."

It's understood that between 30 and 40 people work in France with a "small number" at Amen's other country operations.

An impromptu meeting with Claranet boss Charles Nasser at the ISP's Paris offices failed to give workers the necessary assurances they wanted. Among a list of demands drawn up workers want their jobs and pay guaranteed for at least a year.

A spokesman for VIA NET.WORKS confirmed that staff at the company had walked out but declined to say how many had downed tools. He added that action taken by the company had meant that none of the Amen's 95,000 customers had been affected by the strike.

"Some individuals are on strike," he told The Register, but added that the company had "brought in staff from other operations to ensure that customer service is maintained. The strike has had no impact on customers."

Earlier this month VIA NET.WORKS - the business-focused telco in Europe and the US which said it was facing an "urgent liquidity problem" - agreed to be rescued by UK ISP Claranet for $27m. Both companies signed a letter of intent for Claranet to snaffle up VIA NET.WORKS. Claranet has coughed up a $3m deposit for exclusive negotiation rights with VIA and has until April 30 to complete the deal. ®

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