Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 12:38 UK

Timber company confirms job cuts

Howie plant
Howie Forest Products is seeking redundancies at its plant

A Scottish timber firm is to make up to 18 workers redundant due to a downturn in the building industry.

Howie Forest Products - which operates at Kenmuir Sawmills on the outskirts of Dalbeattie - said it was "really frustrating" to have to make the cuts.

The Dumfries and Galloway firm is one of the biggest employers in the area, with 149 staff in total.

Managing director Hamish Macleod said the company hoped it could rebuild as soon as markets improved.

"Things are a bit tight at the moment with our market badly hit by the financial crisis and downturn in building," he said.

We would not be making the cuts if it was going to turn at Christmas but it looks long-term at the moment
Hamish Macleod
Howie Forest Products

"We are seeking between 12 and 18 redundancies and we are going through a process of seeking voluntary redundancies at the present moment."

The company's latest mill was opened in 2006 and, at a cost of about 15m, is one of the most modern in the country.

Mr Macleod said the firm would be in a position to respond as soon as business picked up.

"We would not be making the cuts if it was going to turn at Christmas but it looks long-term at the moment," he said.

"We have been consulting with all the staff and as soon as things improve we will be rebuilding.

"It is really frustrating because we have built up a really good market share and we are currently maintaining our share of the market."

It is the second such move in a matter of days in southern Scotland.

Earlier this week, it was revealed Craigvar Construction in Galashiels is to wind up its operations by the end of the year, with the loss of 14 jobs.

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