A petition demanding an investigation into the demise of own-account wholesale operator Palmer Harvey & McLane (P&H) has raised more than 8,600 signatures in two days.

The petition, posted on Change.org, follows the collapse of the company and the immediate loss of 2,500 jobs last week.

The company, which had an operating licence for 600 vehicles, delivered groceries to 90,000 customers across the UK, ranging from small local corner stores and food outlets to the UK’s largest supermarkets.

Former P&H operations inventory manager Claire Walton, who submitted the petition, is calling for an investigation into why the firm went under.

She said: “As a former Palmer and Harvey employee it would be good to understand how and why it was allowed to happen and to have the people (responsible) held to account.”

As MT published this article the petition had 8,627 signatures, many from former P&H employees and their friends and family. Comments reveal the level of anger amongst former staff.

One commented: “Mine and my colleagues worlds have just been turned upside down due to our company P&H going into administration.”

Another spoke of the devastation of seeing a company that had been around for a century destroyed and called for action to be taken, signing it: "Very angry ex-employee.”

Another former employee said: “P&H was always busy right to the end. It's not as if they were having to lay off employees. Business was good. Therefore there has to be other reasons.”

Customers also signed the petition, demanding to know how such a large company could go into administration without any prior warning to suppliers and customers.

One wrote: “P&H supplied us and many surrounding area businesses. It's left us facing a huge disruption to services.”

  • Yearsley group has launched a campaign to hire former P&H staff via its Linkedin page. It states: “Following the announcement of P&H going into administration Yearsley group would like to reach out to those affected and see if we can find a job right for you. We are currently recruiting both drivers and warehouse staff across their national network of 11 depots,” adding: “Let’s get Palmer and Harvey staff back into employment before Christmas!”
  • Pollock (Scotrans) has also "reached out" to affected employees. "We are currently recruiting for drivers in the following areas, Fife, Bathgate, Tyneside and Blackburn Lancashire. Class 1 and Class 2 for multi drop, shift work along with trampers. Please contact us at enquiries@pollock.co.uk for these and any other vacancies we have available. You can also apply for roles via our websites pollock.co.uk and gilbraiths.co.uk . Our thoughts are with those affected by this announcement and would urge our connections and others in the industry to help redeploy and lessen the impact of such a big employer within the logistics industry going into administration," it said.