A Hawick knitwear firm is set to pay off almost a third of its workforce, blaming “lower than expected turnover and tough trading conditions”.
It is understood that 20 jobs will go in the coming weeks at Peter Scott and Co, and the company has confirmed that it is seeking voluntary redundancies before entering the 30-day consultation period.
Borders MSP John Lamont said: “I have requested a meeting with the management at Peter Scott to see what can be done to support employees and avoid further job losses.
“This news is extremely disappointing and very sad for the staff and their families, who face the prospect of losing their jobs so suddenly.
“It is also a big blow for the town after a fairly settled and positive period for the Borders mills following the recession. Our local industry is struggling with international competition and challenging trading conditions but there is always a market for high quality Borders knitwear.
“I hope the remaining mills in the town will be able to take on these highly skilled staff.”
This is the largest blow to the local knitwear industry for some time.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Peter Scott has announced a restructuring programme across the business, proposing a reduction in jobs at their Hawick headquarters.
“Despite best efforts to grow the business, lower than expected turnover and tough trading conditions dictated a review of the business strategy and structure which may result in job losses.
“The proposed job losses may become a necessary action to ensure the company’s ongoing operations and enable Peter Scott to create a firm platform for future growth.
“In an attempt to avoid compulsory redundancies as part of this proposal, the company is prepared to consider employees who wish to volunteer for redundancy.
“If there are sufficient volunteers, this may reduce or eliminate the need for compulsory redundancies.
The town’s provost, Stuart Marshall, is deeply concerned.
He said: “I only learned of this sad news at Peter Scott from anxious employees and it really is quite a blow not only for the town but more importantly for the families that may be affected .
“Our knitwear industry has been doing quite well recently and I can only hope that some of the other factories in the town can absorb the impact.”
Peter Scott and Co went into administration in 2011 before it was bought by South Korean-owned Gloverall, which took on extra staff at the Hawick factory.