Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Knitwear firm confirms fresh cuts

Textiles
The company is one of the UK's biggest knitwear manufacturers

A knitwear company in the Borders has confirmed plans for a second round of job cuts in a matter of months.

Hawick Knitwear announced 36 redundancies in November and now plans to shed a further 32 posts.

A statement blamed the move on a slowdown in consumer spending which had reduced the size of the company's forward order book.

Tory MSP John Lamont described it as "terrible news" for the workers in Hawick and their families.

The proposal will reduce the company's capacity by 20% but will still allow them to manufacture around 7,000 garments per week.

It has also entered separate discussions over proposals to make a number of changes to the terms and conditions of all employees within the business.

Managing Director Benny Hartop said the latest cuts could not be avoided.

'Decisive action'

"I deeply regret the need to take this action but it is necessary in order to safeguard the future of this business and protect the livelihoods of our remaining employees," he said.

"I believe that taking this decisive action now will help us emerge from this difficult recession a stronger, leaner company, better equipped for survival in the 21st century marketplace.

"We shall, of course, do all that we can to assist those employees affected in finding alternative employment."

Mr Lamont said there would be considerable uncertainty among staff "waiting to hear where the axe will fall".

He said it was a "significant blow" to the Hawick economy and called on all agencies to help the workers involved.

Lib Dem MP Michael Moore said it was "another black day" for the town.

He said all levels of government needed to help the area get through its difficulties.

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