A call for high-level talks has been called for over the future of Northamptonshire luxury boat builders, Fairline Boats, which has just laid-off a third of its workforce for up to five weeks.
Unite, the largest union in the country, wants talks with the new owners, private equity firm Wessex Bristol; Tom Pursglove, Tory MP for Corby; and Corby borough council, as employees are ‘extremely worried’ about the future of the company, which is one of the biggest employers in the Corby area.
Unite regional officer Sean Kettle said: “I have written to Corby MP Tom Pursglove regarding our concerns over the company’s future and lack of any meaningful consultation, and to join me in a meeting with new CEO Ayiaz Ahmed.
“I have also contacted Corby borough council which has agreed to offer support to the company and employees during this difficult period. There are also real concerns regarding industrial relations that need to be addressed.
“On the day of the recent sale of Fairline Boats by Better Capital to Wessex Bristol, our members were in a in a state of shock after being told that a third of the production workforce - 109 employees - were being laid off for three-to-five weeks from Monday (5 October).
“The new owner is reneging on a lay-off/short working time agreement which could have protected up to 60 per cent of their pay. Instead the company has chosen to use the lowest possible government statutory payment for lay-offs which amounts to a maximum of £26-a-day for five days in any three month period, so a maximum of £130.
“Questions are being raised over the selection process for the 109 of the 300 workers and that the right to appeal the decision was denied.
“The loyal production employees have not had pay rise in seven years. Since Better Capital took over in 2011, members have seen their terms and conditions eroded. Variations on their employment contracts have been imposed, as well a loss of a production bonus scheme.
“I would urge the new owners to see Unite and its members as part of the solution in creating a successful boat building company.”
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.
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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.