Highlands & Islands

Scottish job losses announced at construction firm Rok

Bricklayer at work
Image caption More than 100 companies have shown interest in buying parts of Rok

More than 300 people are being made redundant across Scotland following the collapse of building company Rok.

Administrators Pricewaterhouse Coopers said on Thursday that 130 jobs would go in Inverness, 74 in Dundee, 28 in Elgin, 19 in Thurso and 17 in Fort William.

Seventy job losses had already been announced at the Plumbing Heating and Electrical division in East Kilbride.

Rok reported a £3.8m loss for the first half of the year.

The company, which provides building services for councils, schools, housing associations and businesses, was placed in administration last week, leaving 3,800 employees throughout Britain uncertain about their future.

The administrators for the Exeter-based firm said they had received expressions of interest in buying the remainder of Rok's business and contracts in Scotland.

'Huge uncertainty'

Rok had built a big presence north of the border by taking over Tulloch and Dickie construction companies in recent years.

Last month the company won a £32m contract from Highlands and Islands enterprise to carry out all the agency's building work over the next four years.

All work on current projects has been temporarily suspended.

The Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, Mary Scanlon, said the news could not have come at a worse time for the construction industry in the Highlands.

She said: "There are some contracts which have started already and others that have been awarded, so there is huge uncertainty not just for construction contractors but for many families in the Highlands and Islands who are facing redundancy weeks before Christmas."

'Regrettable action'

Alan Brown, director of business recovery services at PwC in Scotland, said: "When we announced yesterday's redundancies in East Kilbride, we were in discussions with an interested buyer for the remainder of the PHE business in Scotland and remained hopeful that a deal could be concluded.

"Unfortunately last night, it became apparent that this would not come to fruition.

"As a result of this, and in the absence of any other interested parties, we have regrettably had to take the decision to make the remainder of the PHE workforce redundant.

"We understand the impact of this, particularly in the north east of Scotland, and will be working closely with the employees affected by this decision to ensure they receive the support they need during this difficult time and to assist with their claims for redundancy and other compensatory payments.

"They will have access to an employee relations helpline and have been assured that they will be paid for the period they have worked since our appointment as administrators."

Calum MacLean, National Operations Manager for Partnership Action for Continuing Employment, (PACE) a Scottish government initiative, said: "It is very disappointing that Rok has gone into administration and that this decision has impacted on its Scotland operation.

"Skills gained in construction industries are fundamental to Scotland's competitiveness.

Our PACE teams will work with administrators to ensure that Rok apprentices are able to complete their qualification and we are keen to assist all those affected to help to minimise the time they are affected by redundancy."

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