Groundworks and civils firms start mass layoffs

Aaron Morby 2 months ago

Specialist civils and groundworks contractors have laid off well over a thousand workers in the midlands alone after a wave of site shutdowns by house builders.

Walsall-based M&J Evans has laid-off most of its workers
Walsall-based M&J Evans has laid-off most of its workers

Most of those axed are self-employed workers who will now rely on Government measures announced yesterday to support them.

Walsall-based M&J Evans is understood to have shed over a thousand workers after the firm decided to shut down its offices as the Covid-19 crisis deepened.

One of those affected at £130m revenue M&J Evans said: “The whole place is shut down. Some staff continue to work from home but all the men on site are CIS.”

Another major civils specialist MV Kelly, which has grown rapidly from its Birmingham base to over £300m turnover, is understood to have laid off hundreds of workers according to insiders.

In an email to staff starting the redundancy process, the firm said: “There is a lot of uncertainty in all areas of society and work caused by this awful pandemic.

“To that end, we as a company cannot have clear guidance on how to best protect the future of the company and the employment of those who work here.

“There are wide-swinging scenarios ranging from a couple of close down weeks and then business as usual; up to months close down and then a long slow recovery.

“We remain exceptionally confident about the company but we do need to take prompt and appropriate steps to protect the future at MV Kelly for all.

“The start of this process would usually have been via a group meeting; however; this is clearly not possible.”

One stood-down worker told the Enquirer: “I’m set up as a limited company so extremely tough times at the minute. I decided to sign up to the NHS volunteers to try to turn a negative in to positive.”

In Stoke on Trent, Caldwell Construction stood down 440 workers, while fellow Staffordshire civils contractor Chasetown Construction also sent around 130 workers home.

A spokesman for Caldwell said: “Due to client sites closing we’ve had to lay off 380 CIS and 60 PAYE staff on a temporary basis as we fully intend on setting them back on once the lockdown is over and the builders reopen their developments.”

A former plant operator at Kelly said: “The joys of being self-employed, we are all at home now with no income and no idea what to do if we are locked down for anymore than the three weeks.

“Not blaming anybody, we are all in the same boat now just scary not knowing what the future has in store.”

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