Union leaders demand answers over pension worries for workers at Fairline Boats

Furniture and equipment is removed from the Fairline offices at Oundle.  EMN-151127-121527009
Furniture and equipment is removed from the Fairline offices at Oundle. EMN-151127-121527009
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Union leaders have claimed that pension contributions for more than 400 workers at Fairline Boats have not been paid for three months.

Now officials of Unite are urging bosses of the Oundle-based luxury boat builder to explain publicly the situation facing the 52-year-old company.

The future at Fairline is cloaked in management silence.

Mick Orpin, Unite regional officer

They say some workers have not been paid for 10 weeks and are facing a grim Christmas.

Fairline was bought two months ago by equity firm Wessex Bristol, which immediately laid off more than 100 workers for a temporary period and has since warned of “significant” job losses to be announced soon.

Last week, the Peterborough Telegraph reported that staff had moved out of the firm’s rented head office in Oundle and had relocated to the nearby factory.

The company, which has premises in Corby, has also appointed insolvency specialists KSA to help turn around the ailing firm.

Work is underway to get creditors to agree a Company Voluntary Arrangement of terms to pay back an undisclosed amount of debt.

Unite regional officer Mick Orpin said: “The future at Fairline is cloaked in management silence.

“The workers, who have been laid off, have been abandoned - many have not been paid for 10 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.

He added: “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.”

A spokesman for Fairline was not available to comment.


Staff at Fairline Boats move out of Oundle head office and into factory