Hundreds of jobs lost at Havelock in Kirkcaldy

1 August 2019, 12:27 | Updated: 1 August 2019, 16:28

Havelock International

Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs after the collapse of a shopfitting firm.

Hundreds of workers have lost their jobs after the collapse of a shopfitting firm.

Administrators said 247 staff at Havelock International in Kirkcaldy, Fife, would be made redundant immediately.

A "challenging trading environment" was blamed for the collapse as the joint administrators, David Baxendale and Zelf Hussain of PwC, said the company could not continue to trade while a buyer was sought.

The GMB union said workers are "angry" and claimed the factory does not need to close, saying the consequences of it doing so would be "dire".

Mr Baxendale said: "The company has faced a challenging trading environment for some time and the directors have concluded that there is no longer any reasonable prospect for the company to continue to trade.

"Prior to our appointment, we explored ways that the business might continue to operate whilst a buyer was sought.

"However, regrettably this has not proved possible and it has therefore been necessary to make 247 employees redundant with immediate effect.

"Our priority is to ensure that all employees are assisted in processing their redundancy claims as a priority.

"We will be in further contact with all staff as soon as possible and will outline the support available to complete redundancy payment forms. Advice and assistance will also be available from JobCentre Plus and Pace [Partnership Action for Continuing Employment]."

A small number of workers have been retained to assist the administrators in closing the business.

Havelock International changed its name from Havelock Europa after being bought out of administration last year in a deal which saved more than 300 jobs.

GMB Scotland organiser Allison Cairns said: "The anger of workers at today's announcement from Havelock is entirely justified.

"There are serious questions to be answered as to how the company was allowed to get to this point without the workforce being warned or consulted."

She criticised the emergence of the administration announcement in the media before the workforce were informed.

Ms Cairns added: "The plain fact is that this factory does not need to close. There is a quality product here for a buyer willing to make this business work.

"The consequences if a suitable buyer cannot be found will be simply dire for Fife, for what remains of Scottish manufacturing, and worst of all for the 250 people employed here, some of whom will have worked here for a lifetime, all of whom are now faced with being left with nothing.

"GMB Scotland will do everything in our power to support and assist our members at this time."

SNP MSP David Torrance said: "I am extremely disappointed by the news of such a major employer within my constituency going into administration.

"My thoughts are with all the workforce and their families, on whom this news will have a devastating impact.

"The company has been a significant employer in the town for many years and the impact of its loss will be considerable."

He said he has written to Scottish business minister Jamie Hepburn urging the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise to "provide all possible support to allow the company to continue trading".

He added: "If this is not possible, any assistance they can give to ensure that a buyer is found and Havelock continue to be a large employer in Kirkcaldy is imperative."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who represents North East Fife, said: "The loss of this many jobs will be a harsh blow to Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area. For workers who have given a lifetime's service, this is the worst thing that could happen.

"I hope that the Scottish Government will now work with unions and the firm to ensure that knowledge and skills are not lost."