The Mayor of Belper has raised his concerns for the 350 Courtaulds staff who lost their jobs when the company fell into administration last month.
In an interview with Lingerie Insight, Gary Spendlove, who was inaugurated just days before the company ceased production, said it would be in the town’s “biggest interest” to see Courtaulds up and running again.
“It’s our earnest wish that the brands continue, potentially under new management,” said Spendlove, who is also the managing director of Belper-based lingerie and nightwear brand Slenderella.
Of the 350 redundancies, 320 were made at Courtaulds’ Belper factory, while four jobs are going in Nottingham and the rest are in London.
“I’m very passionate about British textile production and the last thing we wanted is a closure of this magnitude,” Spendlove continued.
“Belper is one of those towns where people rally round each other in hard times. It has quite a big service industry, so there are quite a lot of opportunities in sports and leisure, but of course that’s no substitute for people who have worked at Courtaulds for their whole working lives.”
His comments came after administrators, RSM Restructuring Advisory, admitted they are not optimistic about finding a buyer for Courtaulds, which made hosiery under the Pretty Polly, Aristoc and Elbeo brands.
In a statement released to the Derby Telegraph, RSM said: “The administrators of CUK Clothing and Courtaulds Brands Limited are currently liaising closely with customers in order to fulfil their orders using the remaining stock.
“Given the nature of the insolvency and the scale of recent losses, the administrators do not believe that a sale of the business is likely.”
Meanwhile, 30 employees of Courtaulds have been left in limbo by the way the firm went into administration, reports Belper news.
The staff are said to have moved to spin-off company CUK Clothing earlier this year.
However, because that part of the business didn’t have a director at the time of the closure it cannot go into liquidation and the staff cannot apply for redundancy or look for new jobs without risking forfeiting their right to payment.
The employee, who did not wish to be named, told the newspaper: “The company was split into two earlier this year – one part covered the factory and the other the upstairs staff – the sales team, technical staff, product managers – that kind of thing.
“After the business folded, we weren’t made redundant like the factory workers so we can’t move on – and all the company say is that they are working on it.
“We can’t get a redundancy form and we can’t even go to the job centre to look for new jobs as we would be breaking our terms of employment and would then forfeit the right to any redundancy – we are in complete limbo.”
The main reason for the demise of Courtaulds is attributed to the impact of the administration of BHS, a major customer, and the declining volume of sales and profitability over the recent period.
Employees were informed of the news at 2pm on May 25.
Beth Somi, who joined Courtaulds as legwear marketing manager in September 2013, told Lingerie Insight at the time: “We all know that the market is tough but none of us expected this. It is such a sad announcement with so many people having worked in the factory all their working lives.
“Most of us left in tears and not quite believing it was the end of Pretty Polly and the factory at West Mill.”