Belfast Telegraph

Downturn blamed as map firm cuts jobs

A COUNTY Londonderry company which provides mapping and ground surveys and aerial photography is to shed 20% of its workforce.

Fugro-BKS, based in Coleraine, currently employs 72 full-time staff and has said the cuts are a "direct consequence of the global recession and its impact on the UK and Irish economies".

In a statement, the Board of Directors of Fugro-BKS also blamed the slashed budgets of many public sector clients.

The firm has launched a consultation process and a voluntary redundancy scheme.

"This is a very regrettable situation that has arisen because of the spending cuts by many of the company's public sector clients, which have reduced the company's turnover and left it in a position where it has no choice but to reduce its costs to a level that will be sustainable going forward," they said

"Over the coming days the company will be embarking on a process of consultation with its workforce in order to manage this difficult process in a way that minimises the uncertainty and concerns that staff will inevitably feel in any redundancy situation.

"The company will be offering voluntary redundancies to staff in the hope that voluntary redundancies can reduce the number of compulsory redundancies required.

"The Board of Directors recognises the pain and difficulty that this may cause the affected employees and has only taken this difficult decision as a last resort.

"The Board has been forced to take this step in response to the current economic downturn and the shortening work programmes faced by the company.

"Despite the redundancies, the company will maintain its capability to manage large mapping projects and will continue to invest for the future."

BKS Surveys Limited was established in Leatherhead in England in 1956. In 1965, the company expanded its operation through new offices in Northern Ireland, and in 1967, the Leatherhead production facility was transferred to an enlarged Coleraine unit, from which all overseas and European operations have since been controlled. There are sub-offices in Leeds and Uppingham.

In 2008, the company was acquired by Netherlands firm Fugro NV and changed its name to Fugro-BKS Limited.