By Martin Graham
STAFF at the doomed Slumberdown bedding plant in Hawick were last night described as being “very angry” at the actions of senior management after the collapse of the firm and the threatened loss of 60 jobs.
Administrators Ernst and Young met with staff in two separate meetings to discuss the immediate plans for the business.
In an 11am meeting with office staff, 12 people were told they would be kept on temporarily, including three supervisors and operations director Alastair Coulter.
In a later meeting with operations staff at 3pm, they were told that only seven staff would be retained on a day to day basis to clear up and do a stock take.
John Lamont MSP expressed his disappointment that so few staff would be kept on.
He said: “It’s very disappointing news, it suggests the administrators think there is little prospect of the business being sold as a going concern.
“The job losses are a huge blow for the workforce and the town as a whole.
“I hope to speak to the administrators as soon about the possibility of finding a buyer for the company.
“The first priority is for Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council to provide as much support as possible to the workers affected.”
No staff will receive redundancy payments and according to Unite union rep Tony Trench they will have to seek compensation from the DTI.
Mr Trench said: “The staff are very, very angry.
“One female member of staff who has worked there for 15 years had tears in her eyes.
“She has only just got married and her husband works at the plant as well.
“There are many couples who work at the factory.”
Union bosses have arranged a meeting with staff on 23 July at Hawick Bowling Club, where representatives of legal firm McDougall and Co will discuss options for staff facing redundancy.
Tony Trench said that the people of Hawick faced tough times, but that they would prevail.
He said: “Hawick is suffering very badly, with this announcement and the news about knitwear firm Peter Scott, it’s a massive blow.
These people work hard and are very loyal, they are very resilient.”