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Pendennis Shipyard admits jobs are to go

By West Briton  |  Posted: July 05, 2012

Pendennis Shipyard

Pendennis Shipyard

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THE managing director of Pendennis Shipyard has admitted about 40 jobs are to be shed because there is not enough work.

Despite criticism of the announcement, in the week of the company's showcase Pendennis Cup races, Henk Wiekens said the layoffs were normal, to cope with a seasonal slump.

"We always have lulls but because we usually have fewer employees, it is usually not as noticeable," said Mr Wiekens.

However, his admission followed denials from sales and marketing manager Toby Allies.

A fortnight ago laid-off employees told the West Briton they believed between 80 and 150 jobs were going but Mr Allies said at the time it was just a handful.

Presented with further evidence this week, he said the number was 25 to 30, out of up to 300 staff in all.

One worker, who asked not to be named, criticised the short notice after being told in writing on the day he was laid off, "as provided for in ... your employment contract".

He said: "Just to be told at the last minute after working a day is not very nice."

Of being told in the run-up to the sailing races, he added: "They're surely spending a lot on it, so it's a bit of a kick in the teeth."

Letters from Mr Wiekens to employees said: "We do not have enough work to keep everyone employed.

"The manning situation is under constant review."

Mr Allies said the "investment" in the Pendennis Cup, understood to be tens of thousands of pounds, enticed new business.

"The cup is attracting 20 vessels and a number of them we have done significant work on which has brought in investment," he said.

"That far exceeds the investment we have put in. The regatta has been well supported by sponsors, which minimises our investment.

"We have more than 1,000 people here and a number of them are potential clients."

Mr Wiekens said the M5, the world's biggest single-masted sailing yacht, was in for a 12-month refit and the Gloria for three months.

"We've been so lucky over the last few years that we could take on people, but they're all hired on the basis that when the job is over they may be laid off; there's a lay-off clause for that reason.

"If work picks up we rehire them. We hang on to more people than we probably should," he said. "We have about 30 to 40 doing maintenance work on facilities during the slack period."

He said he was "very happy" with the business, with winter-season work due to arrive in September.

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