12 May 2001
The man responsible for putting 470 workers on the dole has picked up over £9 million from electronics firm Pace Plc in the last 12 months.
Chief Executive Malcolm "job killer" Miller, who told stunned workers a week ago that Pace was to "outsource" their jobs, made over £8.5 million on a single "optional share" deal on November 17th. In itself that is more than enough to keep all the lost jobs going for the next year. The jobs will instead go to Mexico and China.
Miller bought one and a half million of the shares at the special knock-down price of 53 pence each, and sold them on immediately at the market price of £6.23 each, netting an instant personal profit of over £8.5 million. The special share option is one of the perks he enjoys in his post.
Other directors made over £3 million in similar deals at the same time.
Miller will also collect over £500,000 in pay and bonuses, with his fellow directors collecting over £1 million.
And 2 other directors, David Hood and Robert Fleming, became the cash-richest men in the North of England when they sold a fifth of their shareholding in the company to pick up over £110 million between them last July.
Fleming said that it would help him in his hobby of collecting vintage World War 2 planes:
"I still come to work every day and life's no less busy but now I just have a nice feeling of security.
"I suppose the wealth allows me to indulge my passion for flying and share my aeroplanes with hundreds of thousands of people at air shows every year.
"I think the figures show the company's doing well and that's good for Saltaire and Bradford."
Hood and Fleming remain the major shareholders in the company.
Just 3 days after anti-capitalist protesters took to the streets across the world to highlight the destructive nature of globalisation, Malcolm Miller called in the Pace workforce for a "state of the nation" briefing. After explaining how well the company was doing, he told the astonished workers that all jobs in the "Pace Manufacturing Facility" were to go. At least 470 jobs would be affected and would end in mid August following the 90-day statutory "consultation process".
As the stunned workers filed out of the factory, T&A reporters were on hand to meet them. Local television crews had already done their filming 2 days earlier.
A Pace Press Release said:
"The Board believes that taking these steps will improve product costing and maintain Pace's competitiveness in its world-wide markets.
"Subject to the consultation process, the cost of restructuring is expected to amount to £4.5 million, to cover possible production equipment write-off and redundancy payments."
Incredibly, despite this cavalier attitude to it's employees, Pace is currently chasing an "Investors in People" award.
Pace bosses have never allowed trade unions to operate at the firm. In 1994 director Robert Fleming spelt out their reasons:
"We don't recognise trade unions at Pace. I don't think we need to have the services of a union. Unions have definitely got a place in those areas where management don't listen to employees or aren't involved in the workplace. We've got an open door policy that goes right to the top."
With no unions, workers have to rely on "representatives" nominated to a "consultation work group". One such group meeting was called shortly after the jobs-loss announcement and questions were prepared for the board. But the representatives were shocked when Miller told them he wouldn't be answering any of their questions. Instead he told them that the 470 job losses were not necessarily a foregone conclusion. They had an alternative:
"You have 2 weeks to come up with a plan as to how you can compete with production costs in China" he is reported to have told the startled reps.
Not surprisingly workers were disgusted by this.
Roger, who has worked at Pace for 5 years, told KDIS:
"They've made their decision through pure naked greed, and then they have the nerve to chuck it back in our face like that. It's obscene. In my opinion the board at Pace are a bunch of criminals, nothing more, nothing less. They are happy to rob us of our future while cynically lining their own pockets."
Share prices at Pace have yo-yoed since 1996, from a low of 25 pence to a high of £10. The company was founded in 1982 and moved to Salts Mill in 1989. When it was floated on the stock exchange in 1996 it's directors became multi-millionaires overnight.
It has been feted by politicians ever since and has been central to the councils current Airedale regeneration plans.
Millions of pounds of public funds have been pumped into schemes to support the company.
The last published figures for the company, for the 6 months up to January 2001, show turnover up by 31% to £206 million and profits up by 41% to £17.9 million.
"Engineering headcount" was reportedly up 41% to 511.
See: Pace - Factfile and Malcolm Miller profile.