Temporary lay offs at local shirt factory

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DUP MLA Gary Middleton has expressed concern after staff at the Smyth & Gibson shirt factory at the end of the Craigavon Bridge, were informed by management they will be laid off for a month following a loss of orders.

He said: “My office is currently assisting several staff from the Smyth & Gibson Shirt Factory after they were contacted by management to inform them that they have lost one of their main customers.

“As a result of this, approximately 50 staff have been informed that a decision has been taken to temporarily lay them off for five weeks, allowing time to source further work from potential new clients.”

In a letter to staff which has been seen by this paper, management explained that the company had “lost one of our main customers” but that “through discussions [the company] have been able to secure one final order from them which, in turn, will allow some time for the business to source work fom potential new clients.”

Management advised, however, that there was likely to be no work until the middle of May. A five weeks lay off, commencing on Monday and ending on May 14, has been proposed.

During the first working week of that lay off, staff have been informed that they will be paid £27 per day but after that they will be reliant on whatever unemployment support may be available through their local benefits offices.

“This has obviously caused much concern among the staff and fears for their future employment. I have already made contact with the company who are working to resolve the situation. I will continue to work with those affected and to provide advice and guidance where appropriate.”