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Team to help former Hawick Knitwear workers find employment

Hawick Knitwear. Credit: ITV Border

Workers who have been made redundant from Hawick Knitwear are to be offered help from a skills development team to find new work.

Local MP Calum Kerr made the announcement, and revealed that Scottish Business Minister Fergus Ewing is to visit the town next Wednesday.

The firm's owners put it into administration yesterday (7 January), and administrators KPMG announced that 123 of the 179 members of staff would be made redundant.

While MP Calum Kerr is says he is confident of finding a buyer for the company, he says it could mean the firm having to downsize:

There is a real opportunity here for a buyer to take ownership of a fantastic company, workforce and brand, but the next couple of weeks are going to be critical.

There is a strong demand worldwide for premium knitwear products and this business is more than capable of servicing that market.

We do have to recognise, though, that we need to create a profitable and sustainable business. That may involve the firm moving to smaller and more suitable premises within Hawick, and it’s highly improbable we’ll be able to sustain a future workforce at current levels.

As well as looking towards a future for the business, we now have to also focus on giving every possible support to those who have been made redundant.

It is hugely worrying for them and their families and the worst time of the year for this to happen. However, the Scottish Government and other agencies will do everything they can to help.

A PACE team will now move in and work to match up those who have lost their jobs with employers locally who are looking to take on new staff and also to offer training opportunities."

– Calum Kerr MP

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WATCH: snow causes traffic chaos in Hawick

Heavy snow has led to traffic disruption in the south of Scotland.

One of the worst affected towns has been Hawick, with major delays on all of the routes into and out of the town.

Police were called to many roads to help vehicles that had become stuck, and as you can see from this footage, filmed in Hawick, driving conditions are very difficult:

Employees shocked at Hawick Knitwear decision

William Hush is a former employee of Hawick Knitwear. Credit: ITV Border

A former employee of Hawick Knitwear says the workforce was left shocked by the abrupt decision to place the company into administration.

William Hush worked at the firm in almost every role for 38 years.

He says that the biggest problem now is that former employees are feeling isolated, with nowhere to turn.

It's devastating and shocking in equal measures.

It just happened so quickly - nobody knew it was coming.

It was so impersonal. We've been told to go online to apply for any jobs. I'm worried that everyone is going to be feeling so isolated. "

– William Hush, former employee

Heavy snow disrupting traffic in Scottish Borders

Traffic is gridlocked. Credit: ITV Border

Snow is disrupting transport in the Scottish Borders.

The A7 in Hawick is gridlocked heading towards Galashiels and Edinburgh, due to the snow.

Cars are backed up to Wilton Lodge Park, with very little movement.

Traffic heading in the direction of Carlisle on the A7 is still moving freely.

There has been heavy snowfall in Hawick. Credit: ITV Border

Hawick Knitwear: employees talking to administrators

Hawick Knitwear has stopped trading. Credit: ITV Border

The Provost of Hawick has told ITV Border that employees of Hawick Knitwear are currently in talks with administrators KPMG, about the future of the company.

Stuart Marshall - himself a former employee of Hawick Knitwear - says he's working with local politicians from all parties:

It's a devastating start to 2016 for the people of Hawick.

Hawick Knitwear is filled with the most hardworking people you could ever hope to find.

It's a major blow for a town that has already suffered many setbacks in the industry over the years.

I will now be working with local politicians who are all united in the fight to save the future of this company."

– Cllr Stuart Marshall, Provost of Hawick

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Hawick Knitwear job losses 'highlight need for more investment' in Borders

123 people have been made redundant. Credit: ITV Border

More than 100 jobs are set to be lost at Hawick Knitwear, as the company has been placed into administration.

A representative for the local Labour party says his heart goes out to the workers affected, and that the news shows the need for more investment and jobs in the Scottish Borders:

To say I’m sad about the job losses is an understatement and my heart goes out to every worker and family in Hawick who will be affected by this.

The booming textile industry was once the backbone of the Borders that employed thousands of workers but for a long time has been in decline, but what’s important is that we do everything we can to make sure that the workers of Hawick Knitwear are given assistance with future employment and that they get all the help they need and I want to make it clear that Scottish Labour in the Borders will do everything it can to help.

The latest job losses further highlight the need for more investment and jobs being created in the Borders."

– Barrie Cunning, Scottish Labour

MSP working to secure Hawick Knitwear jobs

John Lamont, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, has said he's working as hard as he can to secure jobs, following the decision to place Hawick Knitwear into administration:

We'd hoped that we'd been through the worst of the job losses. Knitwear and textiles in the Borders has faced some tough times but we'd hoped that things would be a bit more stable.

But clearly the world economy is still not as strong as it once was and we face tough times, and clearly the management here have had a very tough decision to make and we're now working as hard as we can to try and secure the future of these jobs."

– John Lamont, MSP, Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire

Borders MP responds to Hawick Knitwear job losses

Calum Kerr MP Credit: PA

Commenting on the news that Hawick Knitwear has today gone into administration with 123 employees being made redundant, Calum Kerr, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said:

This news is shattering for Hawick and the Borders and I want to express my profound sympathies for all those who have been made redundant as a result.

I have been in touch with the Scottish Enterprise, which is seeking to have early meetings with the company to to see what help it can provide. I'll also be reaching out to the administrators to offer any support I can in working to secure a future for the company.

Hawick Knitwear is a hugely respected operation with a top class reputation within the industry and a brilliant, dedicated workforce. It has a long history in the town dating back to 1874 and is very much part of its industrial heritage.

I believe that real opportunities do exist for the business to succeed. This is always a challenging time of year in the knitwear sector, but the company has a strong history in high end products such as cashmere and this is very much where the market is heading, with consumers worldwide eager to buy these products.

I am happy to play any role I can in securing the company's future. In the meantime, if any of the workforce feel I can be of help, then I would urge them to get in touch with me or my MSP colleague Paul Wheelhouse without delay.

– Calum Kerr MP

Hawick Knitwear goes into administration with 123 job losses

Credit: ITV Border

Hawick Knitwear has been placed into administration by the company's director.

KPMG LLP have been appointed administrators, and in a press release said:

Recent attempts to secure new investment into Hawick Knitwear to support further development of the brand and provide much needed working capital ultimately proved unsuccessful leaving the director with no option but to place the company into Administration.

– KPMG press release

When KPMG were appointed administrators, 179 staff were employed by the company, and all but two were based in Hawick.

They have taken the decision to make 123 employees redundant while retaining 56 staff members.

Blair Nimmo, Joint Administrator and Head of Restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said:

Unfortunately, extremely difficult market conditions have led to the current position. It is regrettable that a high level of redundancies has been necessary at this stage and we will be working with employees and the relevant Government agencies to ensure that the full range of support is available to those who are affected.

In the meantime, we would encourage any party who has an interest in the company’s business and assets to contact us as soon as possible.

– Blair Nimmo
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