On 25/5/16 at 2pm 350 staff were made redundant with immediate effect from the Belper site of the clothing manufacturer Courtaulds.
Staff were also told that they would not be paid their expected wages and that they would have to claim monies owed through the redundancies payment service.
These repayment systems take an estimate 6 weeks to process (It has taken up to two years in some cases)
Universal Credit can also take up to 6 weeks to process so many people are having to face an immediate future with no income at all. This is apparently a knock on effect from the situation concerning BHS.
11 White collar workers kept their jobs and will be relocated.
Siobhan Collick, who was an employee until Wednesday said “We finished the shift at 1.45 and were told we had a very important meeting upstairs. Administrators told us that the company had gone under half an hour earlier and we were made redundant effective immediately.
It seems as if they went into administration on the 17th so employees were working for a week knowing that employees may not be paid.
Somebody asked us about our wages and the administrator told us that the company did not have enough money to pay us. Lots of people burst into tears and other were wanting answers and angry.
I asked what would happen to our holiday pay and pensions and we wouldn’t get a straight answer and told to include them in our claims. We were distraught and some of my co-workers had worked there for 30 years or more.
We didn’t know what to do and the Police were called. I don’t know what for but it was insulting!”
Sarah Roberts sad “I worked there for six years and one of things I used to love was how the place was so steeped in the history of the Town. Now it is gone”
Labour County Councillor for Belper John Owen, Labour Borough Councillor Ben Bellamy and myself (Labour Trade Union officer) attended the site on wed afternoon/eve to show solidarity and help support those affected as well as expressing our solidarity to the local media.
I attended a drop in clinic on the following day help advise and support people with their claims and help support those coming to terms with the devastating impact this has had on them and their families.
We also handed out contact details for the county welfare rights officers. We are also looking into crowdfunding and taking donations for a support fund as well as urging people to donate to the local food banks to help those who will be hit the hardest.
I will also be contacting the Trade Union representatives for additional support.
We urge the community to provide support as possible in this difficult time and think of the devastating effect it will have on families and our Belper community.
Jyoti Wilkinson (Trade Union Liaison Officer)
Belper and Duffield Labour Party.