Fife politicians have described the collapse of Havelock International as ‘hugely disappointing’ and a ‘harsh blow’ to local communities.
This was the reaction from Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie to yesterday’s news that the firm had gone into administration.
Lesley Laird said it was crucial a buyer is found to save the 247 jobs.
Ms Laird said she had spoken to the administrators and would be keeping in touch with them in the next few days.
She said the key priority is to ensure the workers are paid for the work they have already completed.
She said: “This news is hugely disappointing for the workers and their families. Sadly from yesterday’s events it seemed this announcement was coming. It is crucial that a buyer is found and that 247 jobs can be rescued.
“I’ve spoke with the administrators this morning (Thursday) and will be keeping in touch with them in the coming days . The key priority must be to ensure that workers are paid for the work that they have already done.
“Once it’s understood what money is owed to the business it’s important to secure a buyer for the site and rescue the jobs.”
The local MP said there is justifiable anger about the speed of these events unfolding.
She continued: “A significant payment was due for work on the AECC and I believe that further pressure could have been applied in order to reach a resolution to pay the workforce had earlier notification been provided.
“Now we’re at the stage we are, it’s all about working out what money is due, what support is available to employees, and how quickly a buyer can be found.
“Havelock has a long, proud tradition and a highly skilled workforce and we cannot afford to simply just throw these jobs away.”
She added: “The employees have a great attitude and that work ethic and culture really needs to remain intact. I will continue to work with all parties to ensure that all options are being explored .”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie described the job losses as a ‘harsh blow’ to Fife communities.
He said: “The loss of this many jobs will be a harsh blow to Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area. For workers who have given a lifetime’s service this is the worst thing that could happen.
“I hope that the Scottish Government will now work with unions and the firm to ensure that knowledge and skills are not lost.”
He added: “The Government also need to ensure that large firms are paying up on time and not exploiting smaller contractors.”
Meanwhile Scottish business minister Jamie Hepburn said the immediate priority is the staff.
He said: “We will do all we can to support them, their families and the wider community at this difficult time.
“Scottish Enterprise and partners had been working closely with Havelock International Ltd to explore all possible options, but unfortunately a positive solution could not be found to turn the company’s situation around.
“Scottish Enterprise will continue to work with all those involved to understand the potential options for the company going forward and explore all possibilities to help those workers who have been made redundant to secure alternative employment as quickly as possible.
“Our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative is engaged and providing assistance to affected staff.”