Stricken company attacked by workers facing bleak Christmas as shock job cuts announced

Keighley News: Failed Keighley firm branded ‘cruel and  heartless’ as 187 axed Failed Keighley firm branded ‘cruel and heartless’ as 187 axed

Bosses of a beleaguered Keighley company have been accused of being “cruel and heartless” by employees after nearly 190 jobs were axed just before Christmas.

Single dad Andrew Parker said workers are left with no wages to buy presents for their families.

“What do you do – go to a food bank?” said the 50-year-old.

Staff at Fuzzwire, which made decorations for shopping malls, were left shocked last Tuesday when they were told their jobs had been lost and the business was going into administration.

Andrew Sheridan and Phil Pierce, of restructuring and advisory firm FRP, were appointed joint administrators to the stricken Aireworth Road company on Friday.

They said 65 full-time workers and 44 part-time staff were made redundant, and 78 self-employed workers who helped with the installation of decorations are also affected.

Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said he would contact government departments as a matter of urgency this week to see what could be done to assist those who lost their jobs.

He said: “People losing their jobs at any time is bad news, but for this to happen at Christmas as well is terrible.”

A Fuzzwire employee, who had worked there for more than five years, said the closure was “a bitter pill to swallow”.

“We were told the administrators would be in touch, but it was pretty much a case of ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’,” he said.

One small glimmer of hope came as it was revealed Fuzzwire’s contracts have been assigned to an Austrian-owned group, which operates across Europe and could create new jobs.

FRP partner Mr Sheridan said: “It’s anticipated the assignment of Fuzzwire’s contracts to new owners will create job opportunities with that company. But at this stage, we can’t know how many jobs or where they might be.

“We have huge sympathy for the former employees who have not been paid in December, particularly as we’re in the run-up to Christmas.“We have a duty to all creditors. Our immediate focus as joint administrators will be to assist the former employees in processing their claims.

“These will in turn be submitted to the Redundancy Payments Service, though we recognise it’ll take about six to eight weeks before former employees receive any of their entitlements from the RPS.”
All Fuzzwire’s contracts with shopping malls have been sold on to MK Illuminations, part of a large group that services more than 400 of Europe’s biggest retail centres.
Mr Sheridan added: “In recent weeks, Fuzzwire has suffered a sharp deterioration in its financial position, which put unsustainable pressure on cash flow.
“Despite efforts to attract external investment or sell the business, no buyer emerged. This meant directors had to take the regrettable decision to make all staff redundant.”

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