Concerns have been raised over letters sent to Dee Valley Water shareholders just hours before a vote that will decide the future over who owns the company.
Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd, who is campaigning for the company to remain independent, refers to the letter (copied below) saying, “I’ve been approached by people who have become Dee Valley Water shareholders – a combination of company employees, customers and local people who want to maintain’s the company’s independence.
“They have shown me this letter and expressed concern that it is intimidating and may persuade some small shareholders to stay away from Thursday’s Extraordinary General Meeting. That meeting is to vote on whether Severn Trent’s offer should be accepted, which would mean Dee Valley Water being taken over and merged into the bigger company.
“The people who contacted me believe the stakes must be high if shareholders have been sent this letter from the share administrator, Capita. It’s full of legal jargon, which many people will find frightening and gives just 48 hours to respond.
“The threat of legal action if the deadline is missed could mean that people do not respond and therefore their votes will be void on the day.
“It’s vital that small shareholders turn up on Thursday and are not frightened of exercising their democratic right to vote.”
Today in an email to MP’s and Assembly Members the letters have been described as ‘grossly unfair’ and “…caused further and increased uncertainties for the staff here and those that have been gifted shares feel like they have had the voting rights crushed.”
A statement has been issued saying, “There is an attempt being made to try and stifle their right to vote by asking the court to determine if their votes should be discounted. This is a gross injustice of their democratic right to vote as a shareholder. Customers have got these voting rights in good faith, as they are supplied by a monopoly, it is their only way to try and have their say on who their supplier is, there is a danger that they will lose this right simply because it is not the answer that Severn Trent want.
“Share trading does not cease once an offer is made on a company so a great number of shares have been purchased by investors who are voting for Severn Trent to make money on the deal. The fact that customers and staff have also got shares to vote against this deal is immaterial and they should not be treated differently than any other shareholder, this is an attack on their rights by Severn Trent that is determined to take over supply to an area where customers are saying they are not wanted”.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates and MP Susan Elan Jones, along with Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, have also voiced their support of Dee Valley staff today.
In a joint statement by Mr Skates and Ms Jones said: “As the people elected to serve this area, we continue to fight for the Dee Valley workforce and for the people of Clwyd South. The employees have made it clear what they want, and we have supported them throughout this process. We continue to do so.
“First Minister Carwyn Jones spoke in Senedd about Dee Valley Water and said he could not support any change that would mean the loss of jobs at Rhostyllen. People’s livelihoods must be the primary concern when shareholders’ cast their vote.”
Wrexham MP Ian Lucas added: “This is a crucial meeting where the future of a valued local employer will be decided. Shareholders should understand that hundreds of jobs will be affected by the decisions they take and I would urge them to listen to the views of the people who work for Dee Valley Water.”
The three Labour politicians have previously said Severn Trent has not offered sufficient guarantees over jobs and welcomed Ancala’s intention to retain Dee Valley Water’s operations and brand.
The decisive meeting starts tomorrow at 9.30am and campaigners who support Dee Valley Water’s independence plan to rally outside the Ramada hotel in town where the EGM is being held.