160+ Buchan workers to lose their jobs

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More than 160 workers lost their jobs last Friday as one of the North-east’s biggest construction firms went into receivership.

The news devastated 164 employees of Mintlaw-based Les Taylor contractors and sister company J.G. Fowlie as they gathered at the offices on the outskirts of Mintlaw to get the news on Friday afternoon.

Both firms were the two main divisions of the Les Taylor group which was established in the 1970s by local entrepreneur Les Taylor who sadly passed away in January of last year.

The businesses employed 192 members of staff between them. It is thought that the remaining members of staff have been retained to assist with securing and gathering assests.

Colin Dempster and Andrew Davison of Ernst & Young have been appointed joint-receivers to the civil engineering and quarry firm Les Taylor Contractors Ltd. Mr Dempster and Mr Davison have also been appointed receivers to J.G. Fowlie (Contractors) Ltd. The companies had faced increasing difficulties relating to the decline in demand for building services in Scotland.

Mr Dempster told us: “The decline of the businesses was such that we had no other option other than to make these unfortunate job cuts. Some staff have been retained to assist with the securing and gathering of assets. We are now focused on realising assets on behalf of the companies’ creditors.”

Ross Nisbet of Ernst & Young said the recession was certainly a key factor in the demise of the firms.

“The construction industry is in severe difficulty at the moment all over the country,” he said.

“Any decisions which have been made to make members of staff redundant have not been taken lightly and are both very difficult and regretful.”

Buchan councillor Norman Smith said he had spoken to some employees of the construction company.

He said: “The couple I have spoken to are completely devastated, although there were rumours I never expected it, especially at this time of year, for anyone losing jobs just now it’s going to be a tough time.

“Les Taylor was a local and very well-respected company, I just thought it would be here forever. I suppose the downturn in business for construction companies is partly to blame, whether it be local developments falling through or the potential Aberdeen by-pass, the work is very scarce at the moment.”

Two remaining principal divisions of the Les Taylor Group, Grampian Building Contractors and Mintlaw Transport, a haulage and animal feed storage business, will continue to trade at the moment.

Meanwhile, Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “It’s very disappointing indeed that a major local employer has found itself in such difficulties.

“Obviously, we knew that there had been a downturn in the business over the last year or so but this has come very much out of the blue.

“I certainly will be seeking to make contact with the company to see if there is any assistance I can provide the workforce in these very difficult times and hope to meet with the receivers and the workers later this week.”