Home Finance & Investments Pandemic response drives strong financial performance & workforce bonuses at employee-owned Union...

Pandemic response drives strong financial performance & workforce bonuses at employee-owned Union Industries

Union Industries’ employee owners, including technical sales engineer Rob Howe (left) have received a tax-free bonus after the company performed well during the pandemic supporting customers such as Premier Foods. In the photo with Rob is Premier Foods project manager William Littlewood (right).

Union Industries, the Leeds-based, employee-owned manufacturer of high-speed industrial doors, has reported positive financial results, which has included delivering £3,600 tax-free bonuses to its workforce.

The company, based in Hunslet on the south side of Leeds, has been able to award the bonuses from profits achieved on a turnover of £8.9m from its 2020 financial year.

Driven by demand from customers in the food manufacture, retail and distribution sectors, which saw a dramatic increase in activity throughout the pandemic, particularly during the national lockdowns, Union Industries became a key service provider in that period.

Alongside delivering a strong order book for new rapid roll doors, Union saw an increase for its maintenance services as customers focused on ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency from their facilities including factories, warehouses and large-scale distribution centres.

Union Industries’ range of rapid-roller doors are used across a range of sectors, which also include manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, to provide a fast-acting, reliable alternative to traditional roller shutters on medium to high traffic use openings.

Operating at a speed of approximately 1.6 metres per second, the doors help maintain building temperatures by reducing the ingress of cold air, helping to control heating costs, increase security and can also act as an airlock to separate key areas within a facility.

After an initial three-week Furlough period for 50 percent of its workforce of more than 75 people, at the start of the pandemic, Union Industries quickly brought them back to undertake a range of duties to support the growing workload.

As a result, it ensured that its workforce remained fully employed with no positions made redundant during the pandemic. Subsequently, through its employee ownership status, Union Industries has been able to pay its employee-owners the maximum tax-free year-end bonus of £3,600, which was announced not long after the end of Union’s record-breaking 2020 financial year.

Union Industries, which was established 49 years ago, became employee owned in 2014 when its founders, Paul and Isobel Schofield, took the decision to safeguard the future of the company, selling their majority shareholding to the Union Industries Employee Ownership Trust.

Under Union Industries’ Employee Ownership scheme, every employee is awarded a share of the business after 12 months of employment, with the option to purchase more shares on the annual dealing day.

Andrew Lane, Managing Director of Union Industries, said: “We are exceptionally proud of what we have achieved since the start of the pandemic, not only in our ability to maintain and grow our operations in this challenging period, but also to contribute to our customers’ efforts in keeping the country going by supporting the food manufacturing, distribution, pharmaceutical and other sectors during the lockdowns and beyond.

“As an employee-owned business, the success of Union is truly a collective achievement, that’s why everyone who has been with us for over a year is granted free shares, allowing us then to provide an equal EO bonus when we have a good year. We really came together more than ever before during the pandemic to support our customers and each other, which makes being a part of this wonderful company even more satisfying.”

Andrew added: “As we enter our 50th year in business we continue to experience strong growth and have embarked on a recruitment drive, with the aim of filling up at least eight positions in various departments around the business. Demand for our doors continues to grow, particularly in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods sector where giant distribution fulfilment centres continue to be built across the country, we are confident that we can deliver further collective success in the future.”