UPDATE: 350 jobs to go at major Derbyshire clothing manufacturer

Job losses at Belper factory
Job losses at Belper factory

350 jobs are to go at a major Derbyshire clothing manufacturer after its managers called in administrators.

Courtaulds Ltd of Belper, which makes women’s underwear, nightwear and hosiery for international brands including Pretty Polly, have appointed insolvency company RSM Partners to oversee the sale.

The main reason for the company’s demise is said to be the impact of the administration of BHS, a major customer, as well as declining sales and profitability in recent times.

Dilip Dattani, RSM partner and one of the joint administrators, said: “The administration of BHS has added to the challenge of operating within a fiercely competitive market for seasonal products.

“This has left the directors with little choice but to place the company into administration.

“Regrettably, we have been forced to make 350 employees redundant to align with the current order book and we are assisting them with their claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.

“We are currently engaging with the key customers to assess their ongoing orders and delivery schedules.”

Employee, Christopher Cass, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, who has worked in the packaging department for the last five years, said: “It has come as a big shock - there was no indication at all they were going to shut it.

“When we were told at 2pm this afternoon some people were really upset and crying.”

The 51-year-old father of two said that he had to go into the company’s Belper offices tomorrow to fill in a redundancy form and would only find out in three to six weeks if he would get any money.

He also said the company had claimed that the recent introduction of the National Living Wage had been difficult for them to absorb and that attempts to broker a deal with the unions to reduce terms and conditions had failed.

Ben Bellamy, Labour district councillor for Belper North, said: “Clearly this is devastating news for all concerned – workers, their families and the whole town.

“If what I am hearing is correct, that people have been turfed out of jobs that they have held for decades and told that they will not receive wages that are owed, then I am frankly disgusted.

“The whole town will need to rally round and support those who have lost their jobs in such a cruel and despicable way.”

Paul Owen, Labour county councillor for Belper, said his heart went out to the workers and their families and that a special welfare helpline was now available for people who had been affected on 01629 531535.