Kwik Save pleads for time

Kwik Save workers are being urged to continue working unpaid in a bid to save the ailing chain, unions have claimed

Staff were told the business would go into administration unless they carried on without pay.

The company was reported to have made the plea at a court hearing where it asked for seven more days to put together a refinancing package to save the chain.

Kwik Save has already closed 81 of its branches, with the remaining 145 stores under threat.

Workers' union Usdaw said that staff faced "a very difficult situation".

"Members are being asked by their store managers if they are willing to work for another week unpaid," Usdaw's national officer Joanne McGuinness told the BBC.

"Our members will have to make their own minds up whether their own circumstances means they can go another week without wages.

"If they agree then they face another week of mounting debts but if they don't then the company goes under and they then have to wait to get money from the DTI."

The future of Kwik Save has been uncertain since new management took over the company some 11 weeks ago.

Struggling Kwik Save - formerly part of the Somerfield supermarket group - was sold by Somerfield's owners in 2006 to a new firm BTTF.

About a third of the firm's stores have been closed across the UK, leading to 700 job losses.

The court in Manchester is set to continue its hearing into whether Kwik Save should be allowed further time to restructure.