Construction firm axes 190 workers
A total of 190 workers have lost their jobs at one of Northern Ireland's longest-established construction firms, administrators have confirmed.
Family-run business Patton, which is based in Ballymena, was placed into administration earlier this week. It was consumed by financial problems in what should have been a year of celebration as it marked its centenary.
The company had employed around 320 people. Administrators from Keenan CF outlined the redundancies to staff during a series of meetings. It is understood employees met them in groups of 25.
The redundancies take effect immediately with the laid off workers to receive a statutory payout in the coming weeks.
The struggling firm is continuing to trade while in administration. The company has a turnover of around £140 million but posted a £7 million loss last year.
A spokesman for Keenan CF confirmed that 190 redundancies had been made. "Following an urgent initial review of the company's trading operations in conjunction with the directors, unfortunately it has been necessary to make a number of staff redundant as of Friday November 9," he said.
"Following the company's recent trading difficulties, a number of the company's contracts were terminated by customers and the reduced level of activity in the business has directly impacted the level of staff required.
"The administrator will continue to review employment in the context of workload and the financial position of the company and will keep employees informed."
A number of the workers are members of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT). Union representative Gerry McKenna said it was a "sad day for Ballymena". "These people have mortgages, car payments, credits cards - everything that you take for granted as part of your monthly outgoings," he said.
"They are worried for their future and wonder what they are going to do now. This had been a reliable company, some of our members had worked there for 30 years. And there's not much employment out there in the construction sector at the moment. It's a very sad day."