Northamptonshire luxury boat builders Fairline Boats has not paid its pension contributions for the 468-strong workforce for three months, Unite, the country’s largest union, claimed today (Tuesday 1 December), as the fate of the company remains cloaked in management silence and evasion.
The future of the firm, since its recent takeover by private equity firm Wessex Bristol, has been plagued by about 185 lay-offs; a company refusal to talk to the local MP Tom Pursglove; and, it is claimed, the failure of the firm to make any pension contributions for the last three months, although money had been deducted from staff wages.
Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “The future at Fairline is cloaked in management silence and evasion. This devil-take the hindmost attitude is heralding a bleak Christmas for our members.
“The workers, who have been laid off, have been abandoned - many have not been paid for ten weeks. They have now fallen behind with mortgage and rent payments and are looking at a grim Christmas.
“The laid-off workers are now being forced to resign to claim redundancy payments, which the company has no intention of paying.
“This means a claim will now have to be made through the national insurance fund and it will take months for our members to receive any payment.
“We need to emphasise that there is no support coming from the company for those displaced workers - basically, the management is behaving like Pontius Pilate and washing its hands of a long-standing dedicated workforce.
“And to add insult to injury, we have just found out that company has not been paying members pension contributions, even though it has deducted from their wages.
“Questions certainly need to be asked as to why the current legislation can allow an employer to act in such a draconian way and treat its workforce in such a diabolical manner. These workers are loyal employees and don’t deserve this kind of treatment.
“To compound the situation, the local MP Tom Pursglove, who has raised the company’s situation in the House of Commons, has been trying to meet with the company for the last six weeks, but the management has just snubbed his requests.
“We understand that there is very limited production, but we believe there are orders in the pipeline. Last week, we believe a handful of workers have been asked to return to work.”
Fairline Boats started production in 1963 and currently builds motor yachts at its original Oundle base, as well as in Corby.
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.