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Hopes of ‘saving’ jobs at Keighley firm are dashed
9:20am Thursday 9th January 2014 in Keighley
Any hopes of saving jobs at a festive decorations firm in Keighley that fell into administration shortly before Christmas look to have been dashed.
A total of 187 jobs were lost when Fuzzwire shut down.
Now a union boss has described the firm as “the Marie Celeste of the factory world”.
Steve Davison, president of Keighley Trades Union Council, said it was as if Fuzzwire had “never existed”.
Fuzzwire made Christmas decorations for shopping malls. Bristol-based administrators FRP Advisory announced that Austrian-owned MK Illuminations had bought the doomed firm’s contracts, bringing hopes new jobs might be created.
But Mr Davison said: “There has not been a squeak about what is happening.
“We offered help to those who lost their jobs but no-one has approached us. I am still trying to work out what to do for the best.
“It is a mystery. No-one seems to know anything. It is as if it is a virtual workplace. The premises are still locked up and deserted.”
Visiting the site shortly before Christmas, FRP’s Andrew Sheridan said dealing with redundancy claims was the “immediate focus”. But he warned it could take up to eight weeks before anyone received any entitlements.
He said this week there was “nothing new to report”.
Meanwhile, single dad, Andrew Parker, of Keighley, who lost his job at the firm, has branded the town’s MP’s pledge of support for the workers who lost their jobs as “political bravado”.
As shockwaves spread throughout the area, Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins said he would contact relevant government departments as a matter of urgency to see what could be done to help those made redundant.
But this week Mr Parker said: “The MP said he would do all he could to help us, but I have not seen any sign of action.”
However, Mr Hopkins told the Keighley News that as soon as he became aware of the situation at Fuzzwire, he wrote to Business Secretary Vince Cable and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith asking for help to be provided to those who had lost their jobs.
He added: “This included a request to assist those affected back into work, and the provision of proper support during this process.
“I will continue to keep in contact with the respective ministerial private offices on these matters as we seek to find a way forward.
“No-one should be in any doubt that I will continue to do all I can to assist these constituents who have been placed in a dreadful position through no fault of their own.”
Mr Parker said he had not received money from any source since December 6, when Fuzzwire staff were told their jobs were going. “Without family and friends, I would hardly have eaten,” he said. “My son and I had quite a good Christmas despite all the problems, but you can’t go on relying on other people.”
The 50-year-old now walks everywhere in search of work. “I have applied for jobs from toilet cleaning to management,” he said. “I have to walk as I have no money for transport. I have no money in my pocket, but something will crop up.”
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