Fears for contractors jobs as firm told ‘there is no money’

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There are fears for jobs in Derry as it emerged that contractors working for the Housing Executive have been told that there is ‘no more money.’

H&A Mechanical, who employ a substantial number of workers in the Derry area, have said that “redundancies will happen if things don’t change.”

Director of H&A, Dennis Haskins, said: “Just recently we were told overnight that there is no more money.

“They are all workers who have been with us a long time, as we have a very low turnover of staff.

“They are hard working and productive staff members who are loyal to H&A.

“Unfortunately redundancies will happen if things don’t change.”

Explaining the background Mr Haskins added: “We have a situation where we were being told to spend, spend, and then suddenly there is nothing to spend.

“Morale is at an all time low.

“It makes no sense that we were being told one minute to spend what is needed, and then there is suddenly nothing.

“That’s a bitter pill to swallow and it’s hard to believe that they weren’t keeping a closer eye to their budgets,

“For instance, one of our contracts has been temporarily shelved and while the Housing Executive have said it will start next year, that could be the end of March as they start their financial year in April.

Mr. Haskins explained that they were called to a meeting last week to discuss the situation but he claimed: “There was nothing to consult about or discuss on; the decision had been made that there was nothing left in the budget.”

A spokesperson from the Housing Executive commented: “We meet regularly with all of our contractors and their staff are in contact with us on a daily basis. We have met H&A, a private contractor, on two occasions in the past two weeks. H&A is one of three contractors we use in North region, which includes West.

“As is normal practice, senior Housing Executive managers met with all three contractors last Monday to review the past six months and agree a work plan for the remainder of 2015/16.

“The Housing Executive is committed to investing in its homes and is due to invest over £14 million in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area in 2015/16.

“We have not terminated H&A’s contract and the current contracts runs from June 2012 until June 2016.”