Luxury boat builder in Northamptonshire lays off more than 100 workers for five weeks

More than 100 workers at Fairline Boats have been laid off for up to five weeks
More than 100 workers at Fairline Boats have been laid off for up to five weeks

Fairline Boats has today laid off a third of its 300 workforce for up to five weeks on minimum pay, a union says.

The luxury boat builders, which builds yachts at its original base in Oundle as well as in Corby, took the decision to lay off a third of their workforce from yesterday, according to trade union Unite.

The union has called for a meeting to discuss the future of the firm, with questions raised over the treatment of the workers.

And Corby Council leader Cllr Tom Beattie says the council will do its best to help workers.

He said: “This is of course very worrying news and understandably a very difficult time for those affected by job losses and those that are still unsure of their future.

“As a local authority we will do all we can for the workers that find themselves threatened with unemployment by offering advice and support in relation to benefit entitlement, re-training opportunities and, of course, continuing our aim to bring new jobs to Corby.”

The company, which started production in 1963, was recently bought by private equity firm Wessex Bristol.

Unite regional officer Sean Kettle feels more could have been done to protect workers’ pay.

He said: “The new owner is reneging on a lay-off or 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 and 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.”