North West business briefs: Stagecoach; Peel Ports; Parlour; Momentum Group; Speedy; Manchester Airport

Trade union Unite said it has secured a “substantial” pay increase to end the Stagecoach Merseyside pay dispute – although strike action on Arriva North West services looms this Wednesday (July 20).

The 370 Unite members employed by Stagecoach at its Gilmoss depot in Merseyside have ended their industrial dispute after agreeing to accept the company’s latest revised offer.

They had already taken a day’s strike action on July 4, and were scheduled to begin all out strike action from this Wednesday, but this has now been cancelled.

The deal will see bus drivers’ pay increase to £14 an hour backdated to March 2022, and to £14.20 from January 2023. The engineers will see their pay increase by 10.3%, backdated to March 2022, and a further 1.45% from January 2023.

In the second year of the deal, which comes into effect from March 2023, all workers will receive an increase in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), or two per cent, whichever is the greater.

Unite general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: “This is a substantial pay increase and demonstrates what can be achieved by workers taking a stand where we know employers can pay.”

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Claudio Veritiero

The new chief executive of one of the UK’s largest logistics firms has urged the Government to embrace a partnership with port and maritime companies to help meet its objectives on levelling-up, net zero and economic growth.

Claudio Veritiero, who took over at Liverpool-based Peel Ports Group in April, says that businesses in the sector are ideally placed to provide benefits and opportunities across these three national priorities, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and Brexit. His comments are part of a 40-page report that Peel Ports has published in response to the Government’s own whitepaper from earlier this year, in which the company says there is ‘enormous scope’ for synergy between what is required for levelling-up, achieving Net Zero ambitions and the work of the maritime logistics community.

The report quotes research by Maritime UK showing that the port sector creates an extra £2.67 to the economy for every £1 it directly produces; this contributes to an estimated total of £29bn to the UK economy; and maritime workers earn 36% more than the national average.

Claudio Veritiero said: “It has long been clear to those of us in the port sector that we have an essential role to play in growing economies and there’s never been a more pivotal time for us to assert our ambitions in helping everyone in the UK to thrive. Our operations enable better futures for our staff, local communities, other businesses, and the environment. We’re already doing our part and with the Government’s support we’re ready to do much, much more.”

Peel Ports employs around 2,000 staff, and has invested around £1.2bn in the past 10 years. It is one of the largest port operators in the UK, handling nearly 70 million tonnes of cargo per year and 15% of the UK’s total port traffic through its waters. As well as major operations in Clydeside, Merseyside, London Medway, Lancashire, Manchester, Norfolk and Dublin, the company includes a freight forwarding logistics business and a shipping line.

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Tom Buckley and James Wrigley

New independent bar and eatery, Parlour, is to launch its first venue in Warrington’s thriving Time Square development. Work has already commenced on site and the new concept is set to open its doors in atumn this year.

Parlour is the brainchild of directors James Wrigley and Warrington-native Tom Buckley, who have joined forces to bring their collective hospitality and finance experience together to form Parlour Bar and Eatery. The pair will bring a 3,869 sq ft new bar and casual dining destination to Warrington as the return of office based workers, visitors and families to the area continues.

The business partners have raised more than £500,000 of private investment, including from three local investors to support the launch. The aim is to bring a slice of New York to guests with a specially created menu of 22-inch pizzas, small plates and salads, as well as a quality collection of craft beers, cocktails and wine. Parlour will also provide space for community-led events and showcase local DJs and live music.

James, 41, has more than 15 years of experience within the hospitality sector, previously owning numerous bars and launching several new venues and concepts across Greater Manchester. Qualified accountant Tom, 37, has a rich family history working within the hospitality industry with his father and sister both working in the sector for a combined 82 years with their status in the hospitality industry inspiring Tom to use his strong financial experience to launch his own bar and eatery brand

James Wrigley said “This is an extremely exciting venture for myself and Tom and we cannot wait to bring our vision alive and share it with the customers of Warrington. After viewing the location we knew immediately it was the perfect spot for us to launch our concept of quality, laid back food and drink built for the community.”

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Oriel Chambers

The Liverpool-based Momentum Group has been awarded the facilities management contract for one of the city’s oldest and finest buildings, Oriel Chambers.

The Grade I-listed building on Water Street, situated in the heart of the commercial district, was recently purchased by Yakel Property Investments with an ambition to create a central hub and business community while preserving, updating, and respecting the original architecture and heritage of the building.

The Momentum Group has been appointed to deliver hard and soft maintenance services for the building and its facilities management team will be responsible for daily housekeeping, cleaning and general maintenance for the building and its tenants.

Oriel Chambers boasts 85% occupancy with offices ranging from 138 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft and remains home to one of Liverpool’s oldest law firms, Oriel Chambers Barristers, having been in the building since 1965.

Chris Bliss, director and co-founder of The Momentum Group, said “To be able to showcase our housekeeping and maintenance team’s skills and high level of service in this historic building to both Yakel and their tenants at Oriel Chambers is testament to the quality of delivery we demand and where our team thrives.”

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Speedy, the Newton-le-Willows-based national construction equipment hire and services provider is investing in more than 100 early careers trainees across the UK to help boost its skills base and the industry’s talent pipeline.

The initiative will more than double the number of trainees in the business, creating new opportunities in areas including engineering, hire desk, sales, marketing, commercial, and operations. The programme will involve passing on skills from experienced colleagues to nurture and develop young people in their early careers. It will also harness the ideas, and viewpoints of young people to benefit the growing business.

Speedy is also set to launch a new virtual work experience programme to inspire school students to take up careers in construction and the hire sector, which will be delivered to 300 young people nationwide. Expanding its apprenticeship and graduate programme forms part of the firm’s commitment to ensure that apprentices, graduates and trainees on formal programmes account for five per cent of its total workforce, a commitment that is demonstrated with membership of the five per cent club – a movement of employers committed to earn and learn as part of building and developing the workforce they need.

Speedy has also begun working with Not Going To Uni and The Youth Group to showcase career opportunities and the hire industry to hundreds of thousands of young people. Dan Evans, chief operating officer at Speedy, said: “We recognise our responsibility to help the sector tackle the skills challenge and our early and late careers strategy underlines our commitment to creating opportunities for young people in the communities we work in across the UK.

“The programme is hugely valuable to us as a business. Working with Not Going to Uni and the Youth Group provides a great opportunity for us to showcase our exciting career opportunities to a more diverse range of people than ever before, but equally is a brilliant way of us expanding our teams. It will bring new skill sets and perspectives that can strengthen our business to help us build for the future.”

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The 2019 winning team from Priestnall School

Manchester Airport’s Community Network has announced the return of its popular Dragons’ Den competition for school pupils in its neighbouring communities. This year’s competition will be the 12th edition and follows a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groups of up to six budding entrepreneurs will work together to develop a business model and bid for a business start-up loan of £200. Once they have secured the loan, teams will purchase materials, make their gift, and market and sell the product in their local communities, with items to retail for a maximum of £8. Each group will be assigned a mentor from the Manchester Airport Community Network to guide them through running their start-up.

The overall winner will be the team that declares the most profit at the Grand Final in December, with all proceeds going to their choice of one of six charities. The winning group will enjoy a VIP trip to see the Lion King at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. A panel of ‘Dragons’, including representatives from Manchester Airport’s leadership team and bosses from other businesses based on the airport site, will also award additional prizes for best presentation and most innovative start-up enterprise. There will be a runner- up prize for ‘best eco credentials’.

The winners in 2019 were a group of six pupils from Priestnall School in Stockport, who designed a selection of Manchester worker bee tote bags, Christmas cards and badges, raising £7,037 for their chosen charity, the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Chris Woodroofe, managing director at Manchester Airport, said: “Inspiring young minds is an important part of the role we play in our surrounding communities, and we are thrilled to be bringing back the Dragons’ Den competition, which has proven incredibly popular previously.” Applications must be submitted via www.manchesterairport.co.uk/education by September 27.

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