Jobs threat as joinery firm fights to survive

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ONE hundred and seventy jobs are under threat in Yorkshire after Britain’s largest independent window and door manufacturer went into administration.

Oakworth Joinery, which is one of the biggest employers in Keighley, West Yorkshire, has struggled to cope with the slump in the building industry.

The business is remaining open while the administrators, John Russell and Chris White of The P&A Partnership, try to find a buyer.

Mr Russell said yesterday: “Our immediate priority is to look at options for the business and we are consulting with staff, creditors and customers.

“Unfortunately, Oakworth is a victim of the continuing downturn in the construction sector and of difficulties in accessing finance for new machinery.”

Oakworth Joinery was bought from Nobia Holdings UK in 2010 and has been manufacturing in the town since 1965.

Mr Russell added: “Oakworth’s directors have tried their hardest to keep the business trading profitably and took appropriate professional advice early on in order to give the business the best chance of survival.

“They actually found a buyer themselves, but unfortunately the deal fell through last Friday.”

Tony Wright, the Mayor of Keighley Town Council, said he was saddened to hear the news, because the company had played a significant role in providing jobs for local people. He added: “It’s a major and long established employer. I know people who have worked at Oakworth Joinery since they left school. These are the sort of jobs we don’t like to see being lost in the town. I don’t know what they would be replaced by.

“We do need a cash injection in places like Keighley.

“The manufacturing sector has been relatively strong in Keighley and it’s not good to see it decline.

“It’s a sign of the recession; people are feeling the squeeze.”

P&A has a website which provides information and support for Oakworth employees.