Jobs to go as work halts at timber firm

Robertson Timberkit  factory, Fox Cover Ind.Est. Dawdon.
Robertson Timberkit factory, Fox Cover Ind.Est. Dawdon.
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MORE than a dozen jobs are to go at a Seaham factory.

Robertson Timberkit, which manufactures timber frames for the housing and hotel construction trade, will bring work at its Seaham site to a halt at the end of the month.

The decision to suspend operations until trade picks up will result in 14 redundancies at the site on the Fox Cover Industrial Estate, Dawdon.

The firm offered workers the chance to move to its main site in Elgin, Scotland, with 16 jobs put forward.

Four workers have decided to take the transfer.

 A further 13 will stay with the company, five working from home or becoming site-based and eight taking on mobile roles working on its projects around the country.

The firm is also making three other people redundant as part of the review, although they do not work from Seaham.

A spokesman for the firm, which has run the plant for the last decade, said: “Following a review of the business and the construction market, which continues to be difficult, we have decided to restructure our timber engineering business.

“The decision has been made to suspend operations at our manufacturing facility in Seaham, effectively mothballing the factory until such times that there is evidence of a return to sufficient construction volume within the market place.

“As a result of the restructure our manufacturing, finance, estimating and design functions will be relocated from Seaham and merged with the services from our Elgin factory in the North East of Scotland.

“This is has been a difficult but necessary decision and we remain committed to providing a first-class service and a quality product at a competitive and sustainable price as we move forward.”

Dawdon’s Durham County councillors Charlie Walker and Bob Arthur have been offering support to staff and lobbied the company to try to get its leaders to change their mind over the plans.

Coun Arthur said: “The staff are just so disappointed.

“For some, relocating was out of the question, to drive up from Seaham to Scotland.”

Robertson launched its East Durham site in 2002 as the company opened itself up to a national market, with three production lines run within its factory along with an additional section which makes joists.

Further investment in to its equipment was made in 2007, upping its production capacity.

The next year, Robertson, which also has a major site in Stirling, was named the fourth fastest growing company in the Sunday Times Fast Track Profit Track 100.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham