Page last updated at 07:14 GMT, Wednesday, 27 August 2008 08:14 UK

Review threatens jobs at boatyard


Owners global travel company Tui is considering using an external company to build its boats

Up to 40 boat building jobs are at risk after a firm announced it is to review operations in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Porter and Haylett, which has yards at Wroxham and Somerleyton, is owned by the global travel giant Tui.

The firm said it is considering moving "some or all" of its boat building abroad to an external business.

It said: "The review is driven by a need to continue to produce the best boats in the waterways business, whilst retaining our competitive edge."

Michael Bugden, vice-chairman of Wroxham Parish Council, said: "The parish council would be very concerned to know that there was a possibility of skilled jobs being diluted in the village.

"There are relatively small numbers of jobs available in the village, particularly for younger people."

Matthew Thwaites, a director at Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham, said he accepted some firms would move work abroad because of rising production costs in the UK.

But he was concerned job losses at Porter and Haylett could affect his business.

"I think there'll be a short term gain. At the moment we always struggle to get skilled staff so in the short term you'd probably pick up a few people," he said.

"In the long term people go away from the industry which has got to work against us. It's an industry that is shrinking and it can't do us any good at all in the long term."

Porter and Haylett has not said when the review process will be completed, but said it was working with its teams in Wroxham to "understand their views" and the effect the proposal would have on them and the business.

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