Loss of about 380 jobs at Northamptonshire boat builde...

Loss of about 380 jobs at Northamptonshire boat builder due to ‘appalling management’, said Unite

08 December 2015

About 380 workers, who have lost their jobs at Northamptonshire luxury boat builder, Fairline Boats have been sacrificed on ‘the altar of appalling management’, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 8 December).

But the union said that Fairline Boats is a high-premium brand with a dedicated, long-serving workforce with a viable future – and urged the administrators to redouble their efforts to find a buyer.

The joint administrators at FRP Advisory said in a statement that it was retaining 69 staff to service existing orders and liaise with customers. Before the company went into administration last week, it employed about 450 workers.

Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “While not unexpected, the news today is a real financial body blow to staff facing a grim Christmas and who will be searching for new employment in the New Year. The adverse knock-on effects to the Northamptonshire economy cannot be underestimated.

“Unite is fully committed to helping our members who have been made redundant and assisting them submit their claims to the Redundancy Payments Office.
“It is Unite’s view that the loyal workforce are victims of appalling management ever since private equity firm Wessex Bristol acquired the company from private equity fund Better Capital just over two months ago.

“The workers have been sacrificed on the altar of uncaring capitalism; for example, the firm did not pay the employees’ pension contributions for the last three months, while deducting the contributions from staff pay packets.

“That said, it needs to be recognised that the luxury boats produced by Fairline Boats since 1963 are a top-of-the range premium product that have a viable and sustainable future with good management.

“We urge the administrators to redouble their efforts to find such a buyer for this company – Unite will be liaising with the administrators and leaving no stone unturned to achieve this goal.”

Last week, Unite called for an inquiry by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) into the workings of private equity firms, after the news that the firm had gone into administration. 

The administrators said that the majority of the retained staff are located at the company’s sites in Corby and Oundle, where it designs and manufactures a range of luxury boats, while a handful of staff remain to continue operations at a testing location in Ipswich, Suffolk.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.