A Tayside manufacturer is to make dozens of people redundant as Covid-19 has resulted in a slump in orders.
Almost the entire 150-strong workforce at JTC Furniture in Dundee have been informed their jobs are at risk.
The Courier understands between 60 to 70 staff could be made redundant, though it is an early stage in the process, with Unite the Union engaged to try to minimise job losses.
JTC manufactures kitchens and bathroom furniture as well as special projects for housing associations, local authorities and the construction industry.
The company, which had annual sales in excess of £20m, operates from one of Dundee’s largest factories, occupying the 170,000 sq ft former-Timex building in Harrison Road. It has another unit in the Manhattan Works complex on Dundonald Street.
JTC initially closed its factory after the social distancing guidance was issued in March, furloughing its staff. It reopened with around 30 staff in the middle of April.
Company chairman Gordon Linton said: “How fast orders come back will dictate how many people we need.
“If orders come back quicker, the numbers (of redundancies) will be lower. We are talking to the union and assessing options.”
Mr Linton said the company had been growing and trading well and Covid-19 had undone the progress made over the past two years.
He said even as construction sites begin to reopen, the level of orders will not be at the same level as before the pandemic.
He added it would be hard to keep the entire workforce socially distanced within the factory.
“When we restart are we going to be at the levels we were before? The answer to that is no.
“Operating with a skeleton staff has taught us that it would be very hard to get the same amount of people in the same amount of space and keep them all apart.
“The building sites we service will have issues like that as well. It is going to take construction firms longer to do the work, which means work will come to us over a longer period.
“The next six to 12 months is going to be an unknown but we will get through this.
“I’ve every confidence we will go back to where we were before and it may be that some of the guys who leave us will be taken back on.”
Mr Linton said all shareholders who work in the company had taken a 20% pay cut.
The letter to staff said the company expects to go through a “cost saving and downsizing exercise”.
It said the consultation process with Unite the Union will examine ways of avoiding or reducing the need for redundancies.
It added: “The consultation process will last for a minimum of 30 days because the business is proposing to make 20+ employees redundant over a period of 90 days.
“We welcome any suggestions that may assist the company in avoiding or reducing the need for redundancies.”
It said any requests for voluntary redundancy would also be considered.
David Lawson, regional officer with Unite the Union, said: “At this point we are engaging in talks with the company.
“It’s the beginning of the process and talks are ongoing as we try to minimise the number of redundancies as much as possible.”
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe