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Aukett's solidarity strike threat

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Staff at Aukett threatened strike action last month in sympathy with the firm's senior managers, it has been revealed, after foreign shareholders threatened to unseat two directors (AJ 5.2.04).

The employees - who were furious with the investors for triggering an extraordinary general meeting at the end of March - had to be persuaded that industrial action 'would not help solve the company's problems'.

A senior Aukett source told the AJ that staff members were angry when they discovered that the foreign shareholders were attempting to replace chairman Ian Mavor and marketing director Stuart McLarty on the board. 'They wanted to express their frustration with the situation as they could see, like most other people, that the firm is doing well, ' he said.

'The employees had a meeting and said they would carry out a one-day strike to show their support for the existing board and their frustration with the external shareholders. But we, as senior managers, talked them down, ' he said.

'We told them that the best way to handle the situation was to keep serving our clients and working to keep the company going forward. However, this does show that the existing management has the support of the staff and that they are very happy with the direction of the company, ' the source added.

The shareholders' rebellion, at last month's AGM, was led by minority shareholders Imagina Management from Madrid and Brussels-based Art & Build. They refused to support Ian Mavor and Stuart McLarty in their current roles, and are instead campaigning for them to be replaced by Imagina's Jose Luis Ripoll and former chair Gerry Deighton.

Two other high-profile ex-directors, former chair Andrew Lett and managing director John Thake, told the AGM that they too would use their votes in support of Deighton, who is actively campaigning for the rebel faction.

Aukett directors have warned that if problems at the company continue they would consider taking the firm back into private hands.

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