Swift Group to lay off 5% of workforce
The Swift Group – Britain’s largest leisure vehicle manufacturer – has confirmed it plans to make 5% of its employees redundant as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The manufacturer, which makes motorhomes, campervans and caravans, as well as holiday homes, said, like many other businesses across the UK, it has faced a tremendous challenge after suspending its operations on 23 March. It plans to restart production on 1 September.
Today (July 13) the Hull-based company confirmed to its employees that it plans to undertake a number of actions to reduce costs and to ensure that the business and as many jobs as possible are protected.
One of these actions is that redundancies will be made and, as such, Swift has filed a HR1 form – a notice to the Government of its planned redundancies with the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which acts on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Swift said it is estimated that this could lead to a reduction of its current workforce of about 5% of the 1,000+ people it employs.
James Turner, Managing Director of the Swift Group, commented “It is with much regret that we find ourselves in this situation due to these unprecedented times. We will work closely with our employees over the coming weeks to ensure there is strong and considerate communication throughout and that any action we take is done so responsibly and professionally, and with the utmost dignity and respect for all those involved.”
Swift said its priority since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees and families, along with its dealers, customers and suppliers.
“All decision-making continues to be centered on safety to ensure responsible action is taken in line with government guidance,” it added.
“The caravan industry, like many others, faces a difficult and challenging economic situation, with dealerships and park showgrounds being closed for over two months, and places of use like caravan sites and parks closed for an even longer period until recently. The caravan industry is sales-led and, without the ability and willingness of customers to buy, there has been little or no demand for additional products to be manufactured.
“Swift Group, as a responsible manufacturer, plans to recommence production on the 1 September. Until this time, the company will continue to furlough the vast majority of its employees. Those who are working are covering essential services to its customers and, where possible, are working from home. Without doubt, the financial support provided through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme has enabled the company to weather the intervening period.”
The manufacturer, however, added that the longer-term outlook for the industry is positive. As a result, the Swift Group has seen an increase in interest from a wider proportion of the population but it will inevitably take time for this interest to convert into sales.
“Despite the opportunity, there still lies ahead a challenging and uncertain period and, undoubtedly, the ongoing implications of Covid-19 will continue to impact on the caravan industry, and the UK economy at large.