400 Jobs At Risk As GHA Coaches Enter Administration & ‘Cease Trading’
GHA Coaches entered administration yesterday afternoon, with the company ‘ceasing trading’ later in the evening, stopping their services.
Due to the developing information on the impact the news has on the transport links around the area we have collated updates through the evening below, with the latest at the top.
Update 12:38am To round off the updates from this evening, there is a message from Llay Councillor Rob Walsh on the impact the news has on school transport for his area, plus an invite from the Wrexham Jobcentre Plus to help support those affected.
@wrexham JCP will contact GHA to offer support. Free rooms available for employers who can offer interviews for employment opportunities.
— Wrexham Jobcentre (@WrexhamJCP) July 13, 2016
Cllr Walsh says the GHA news “may cause a problem for Llay pupils who usually travel by GHA Coaches to Castell Alun. As this news has broken quite late I am not aware of any specific alternative arrangements made for Llay Castell Alun pupils who rely on this bus. There is an attempt to organise alternative transport for all Wrexham-based pupils, but we won`t know until the very last minute.
He adds “I will be patrolling from 8.15am round the village to keep tabs on the situation. Any questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact me. Can`t guarantee I will have definite answers but will do my best.”
Update 12:11am We have been pointed towards this update from Ysgol Dinas Brân.
“It is our understanding that GHA has gone into Administration. We understand that all school contracted service buses will be running. These buses will have a sign in the window indicating where they are running to e.g. Ysgol Dinas Bran.
We are less certain about service buses coming from the Wrexham direction into Llangollen e.g 527C. With this in mind it may be wise to make alternative arrangements to get your child/children into school should these services not be running. We will post an update as soon as we know more information.”
Update 11:35pm Ysgol Bryn Alyn have said: “For those pupils travelling to school on a GHA coach, we ask that you seek alternative transport to school tomorrow. If this is not possible, please contact the school office and we will endeavour to transport your child to school.”
Update 10:24pm: Deeside.com have been sent an update to the situation in Flintshire, with a table showing the school pickup plans for tomorrow – you can view it here.
Wrexham Council have issued a statement as per our update at 9:15pm, and have added in a reply on their Facebook Page saying: “I’m sorry the whole situation has come at very short notice and the Council’s first priority is to ensure pupils get to school. There will be disruption to other services tomorrow. If you travel by GHA Coaches you are advised to look for alternative routes to work.”
We have also been tweeted this update from the Maelor School:
We have heard that coaches will replace the gha routes we are still unsure about the 146. please make alternative arrangements if possible
— Maelor School Penley (@MaelorPenley) July 13, 2016
Update 9:15pm We have an update from Cllr David A Bithell who is the Lead Member for Environment and Transport at Wrexham Council, he tells us: “The council was very concerned at this news as GHA Coaches employ many people Vauxhall Industrial Estate depot. The authority was made aware at very short notice that no coaches from GHA Coaches would operate on Thursday morning.
“Our priority at the moment is to ensure that our statutory services such as home to school transport are maintained and all pupils get to school.
“We have approached other operators earlier this evening and we are confident that we will be able to provide alternative transport via other vehicles such as minibuses or taxis, although at this late stage their may be some gaps or disruption given the late notice tonight.
“With regard to the regional transport services provided by GHA we are working in partnership with other authorities across the North West and North Wales areas to mitigate the disruption to the service this news will inevitably have in the short term. We are confident other operators will take on some of the routes and as the situation becomes clearer we will look to operate some routes where there are clear gaps in the services operated.”
We are told Wrexham Council will post an update on their Wrexham.gov.uk website on Thursday and will contact all schools who operate GHA services and provide further details when they have a clearer picture.
Update 8:33pm: Rob-Trav Francis pointed us to a statement by Denbighshire County Council that says it has received notification today from GHA Coaches that it will cease trading as of tonight.
“The Council is using its contingency plans to try and ensure that as many former services as possible run by GHA are able to continue to operate by other suppliers on a temporary basis.
“Not all routes will be covered immediately and there will be some gaps in service, as it will take a few days to arrange the necessary vehicles from other suppliers. Other bus services will need to operate on a reduced emergency timetable. This information will be updated by the Council, as soon as information becomes known.”
The full statement, which includes route information and per-school information from Denbighshire Council can be found by clicking here.
There has been no update as of yet by Wrexham Council or Flintshire Councils.
Update 8:15pm: Some schools are starting to put out information, with Emma passing on information from Ysgol Rhiwabon, “To all parents GHA bus service have tonight gone into administration. GHA used to operate our Cefn Mawr & Acrefair bus routes. For this week E Jones Ltd will provide emergency cover for our pupils to get to & from school at the normal times & bus stops. Further info; will follow . M Ferron-Evans Headteacher”
Original article below…
The company, that employs around 400 people, sent text messages to some staff members to tell them that the company would stop trading and to attend a meeting tomorrow morning – but with no expectation of further employment.
We are told local authorities are trying to organise cover for tomorrow, however currently Wrexham and Flintshire have not yet replied giving any detail on if this has been fully or partially successful.
Shropshire Council have said that all school and public transport routes operated by GHA will not operate tomorrow.
One person who works for another bus company told us this evening: “We are in the process of organising some emergency cover, hopefully we’ll have things in place by tomorrow morning, I should imagine we’ll be working until late tonight.
“I’ve had GHA drivers coming into my office the last few hours asking for applications forms. Naturally they’re all upset, they’ve been told to go into work for 11am tomorrow, but not to drive a bus, just to officially be told they’ve been made unemployed.”
Several people who were on buses operating when drivers were texted the news have also reported information being then passed to members of the public.
One said, “The Driver just stopped the bus and said GHA have ceased trading as of tonight. I asked about weekly ticket holders and he said he did not know.”
GHA Coaches Ltd is one of the largest independently owned bus & coach operators in the UK operating 230 vehicles from 6 depots and employing nearly 400 people with routes across the Wrexham area, out to Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and across into England for Cheshire, Shropshire and Manchester.
GHA’s head office and central repair facility is located in Ruabon with depots in Ruthin, Tarvin, Winsford, Macclesfield and Shrewsbury.
We have contacted GHA direct, also via their communications agency, with the latter also trying to get in touch to get further details of the situation and impact on employees.
We will update this article as and when there is further information this evening
Company fined £90,000 for safety failings
GHA was recently fined £90,000 after it repeatedly failed to comply with legal notices to get its lifting equipment examined.
Mold Magistrates’ Court heard that, between 4 April 2014 and 28 August 2015, GHA Coaches Limited failed to have its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the required timescales to ensure that health and safety conditions were maintained and that any deterioration could be detected and remedied in good time.
In 2015, an inspection revealed overdue Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) examinations on at least 14 items. An improvement notice was served, and extended twice, and still resulted in a failure to comply.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a previous improvement notice was served in 2011.
GHA Coaches Limited, of Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, Wrexham, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(ii) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER),and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice, and was fined a total of £90,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,068.
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