More than 2,000 staff at Eaga – half its workforce – have signed an email petition protesting about their treatment during Carillion’s £306m takeover .
Eaga staff are angry that a trust set up on their behalf said it would waive its right to a cash pay-out for shareholders under the terms of the deal. The move could save Carillion £100m.
The Eaga Partnership Trust holds 37% of the company on behalf of the staff in a similar ownership structure to John Lewis.
But the Eaga trust’s board has voted to forgo cash payment following the sale and transfer its holding into Carillion shares without consulting staff.
Eaga staff are unhappy at being denied potential pay-outs of around £25,000 each that they would have received if the trust were to have been wound-up.
An email among staff seen by The Daily Telegraph, said: “This is £25,000 per partner that’s being unnecessarily taken from us without our say or vote, but we can make the difference.
“It’s not all about the money. It’s the principal of the matter that we as partners don’t have and haven’t had any say in the decision. But we certainly can change this.”
The Eaga Partnership Trust provides benefits for employees like cheap holiday homes and shopping discounts – but many of the partners would rather see the cash than continue to be members of the scheme.
Ken Temple, chairman of the trust, said he saw no reason why the trust should be wound up now.
He said: “We envisaged it as a long term trust and there is no reason to bring it to an end.
“Carillion told us they welcome a continued shareholding. We realised we had to make some changes to the trust deed and went to the High Court to get a judgment making sure what we were doing was right and proper.
“I’m confident we acted properly and within the power of the trustees. It’s worrying and distressing, of course, that people are upset but it’s been tested in one of the highest courts in the land.”
The takeover is scheduled to complete in April. Eaga declined to comment, saying it was a matter for the trust.