Up to 68 jobs under threat at woodyard

Allan Brothers managing director Danny Hughes
Allan Brothers managing director Danny Hughes

Allan Brothers has announced a restructuring proposal which could lead to the loss of 68 jobs at the Tweeedmouth woodyard.

It is considering the possibility of transferring the production of price sensitive, commodity window casement products to its sister plant in Poland.

Employees and unions were informed of the proposals in a series of meetings and presentations in Berwick earlier today (Wednesday).

Up to 68 jobs may be affected by these changes, potentially leading to a mixture of voluntary and compulsory redundancies.

A consultation process with the two main unions and employee representatives regarding the proposals has now begun. A formal decision will only be made and announced following the consultation process.

The company, part of the Inwido Group since 2009, says the restructure is needed to ensure its long term sustainability in the UK.

Danny Hughes, Inwido UK MD, explained: “We believe this proposal, whilst difficult, needs to be seriously considered to ensure that we have a healthy sustainable business in the UK.

“There has been a fast growing trend in the past five years for higher levels of imports from eastern Europe in this commodity product. We have suffered significantly from this market change resulting in a loss of volumes and earnings over the last three years and need to consider our options. Allan Brothers is therefore consulting on utilising capacity at our sister plant to improve competitiveness.

“If this proposal is implemented it will allow our Berwick facility, with future investment, to successfully focus on high-value crafted products such as sliding sash windows, which we have a strong and proud heritage of manufacturing in Berwick.

“As part of our commitment in developing sales the business is opening a new 440 sq m showroom and office facility in the south east of England to take advantage of the buoyancy in that region.”

Allan Brothers currently employs around 150 people in Berwick.

Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith said: “The prospect of so many job losses at Allan Brothers is a serious concern for Berwick and especially those who may be affected and I hope the company will listen to any counter-proposals which are put forward.

“The news that the company is to invest in new technology for the plant here is a clear indication that there is a future for the business in Berwick and I hope that this could mean more jobs being created in the long term.”

Founded in Berwick in 1811, Allan Brothers is one of Britain’s longest established window and door specialists. In 2009, the company was acquired by Swedish-based Inwido Group, Europe’s largest supplier of windows and doors. Today, Allan Brothers provides customers with bespoke timber windows and doors through a network of highly experienced local installers. Products include traditional sash windows, modern variations of the sash window, casement windows, French doors, along with entrance doors.