Politicians fail in last ditch attempt to save Velux workforce

MSP Tricia Marwick, MP Lindsay Roy and Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council, at the meeting at Velux. Pic: FPA
MSP Tricia Marwick, MP Lindsay Roy and Cllr David Ross, leader of Fife Council, at the meeting at Velux. Pic: FPA
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Last ditch attempts by senior political figures in the town have failed to halt 180 job losses at Fife Joinery Manufacturing, the production arm of specialist window suppliers Velux Group Plc, based in Glenrothes.

Trica Marwick Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Lindsay Roy MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife and Fife Council leader councillor David Ross met earlier today with Graeme Johnstone, managing director of Fife Joinery Manufacturing, and Keith Riddle, managing director of Velux’s UK operation, to see if there was any way to save the workforce from the company’s decision to relocate to the Midlands as part of efficiency savings.

In a press conference following what was described as a “robust and frank exchange of views”, Mr Roy said the decision is now effectively a “fait accompli” with all three politicians admitting their priority was now with the workers who are expected to be made redundant in the next few months.

“It’s a devastating blow for this town, but we’ll be working together to get the best possible outcome for what is a highly skilled and respected workforce who have brought a very distinctive reputation to Glenrothes” said Mr Roy.

Mrs Marwick confirmed that she had spoken with Fergus Ewing, Scottish Enterprise Minister who assured the Scottish Govertnment would support in all possible ways to try and reduce the impact on the workforce.

“We are now dealing with the realisation that that side of the company’s workforce will be going so it’s essential that we work together going forward to minimise the impact on those affected by this decision.”

The politicians were unanimous in their disappointment over the lack of any dialogue with the Velux management team, or with the various support agencies in the lead up to the job losses announced last Thursday.

Mr Ross said: “It perhaps disappointing that there was no contact from the company as we could have discussed other options with them.

“Our officers from Fife Council’s Economic Development team will contact them this afternoon to see what the Council and any other agency can offer.

“We are not wanting to give any false hope but we haven’t ruled out the possibility of someone else taking over the existing manufacturing facility, we will explore all options open to us.”

There was also clarification regarding the 30 additional jobs being created in Velux’s sales and marketing division. The company have confirmed to politicians that 20 positions will be added to to the 110 already existing at the company’s UK sales headquarters based in Glenrothes, while a further 10 would be implemented UK-wide.

l Full story in this Wednesday’s Glenrothes Gazette.