Belfast Telegraph

Dozens of jobs already gone at Antrim manufacturer Camden


George Brash
George Brash
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Up to 50 jobs have already gone at Co Antrim window and door frame manufacturer the Camden Group as it consults over the loss of a total of 80 roles, it has emerged

The company this month announced a 30-day consultation process that placed 80 people at risk of redundancy in the wake of one of its biggest customers entering administration.

But large numbers of other jobs have already gone, Business Telegraph understands.

Bradford-based Niamac Developments, which trades as Safeglaze UK, was placed in administration on October 30. All 132 employees at its eight sites in Britain have been made redundant.

A source at the Camden Group described Safeglaze as one of the company's biggest customers. The Bradford firm is understood to owe its creditors around £11m, with Camden one of the biggest creditors.

In a leaked memo to staff last month, the frame manufacturer referred to "a sudden and unexpected" reduction in orders from Safeglaze.

But while the formal consultation will run for another two weeks, a source at the company told Business Telegraph that around 50 people have already lost their jobs, most in the production end of the business. The firm declined to comment.

According to its latest accounts, it employs around 580 people, with 80% in production. Despite a pre-tax loss of £1.2m in 2016, the company experienced a £5m upsurge in turnover last year to £43.9m, helping it return to profit.

Trade union Unite has urged non-members at the Camden Group to join, which they said would "ensure their rights are are being protected".

Regional officer George Brash, who has visited the factory, said: "Workers in the group are being offered the bare legal minimum statutory redundancy payments by management and pay is low.

"The best way for workers to defend themselves is through joining a fightback union like Unite.

"Unfortunately Unite does not hold formal union recognition at the company and so our ability to robustly defend workers' interests is curtailed; however, we are willing to engage with management to ensure that the number of compulsory redundancies required is minimised through relocation to alternative sites within the group."

John Smith, the DUP deputy mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, said the job losses were another setback for manufacturing: "It's terrible, it doesn't help the local economy at all. It's just sad, especially at the mouth of Christmas. It's another disaster for manufacturing."

Belfast Telegraph