South Scotland

Penman Engineering survival fight gathers pace

Penman Engineering

Politicians and a trade union have promised to do everything they can to ensure the survival of an armoured vehicle firm near Dumfries.

Penman Engineering went into administration on Wednesday.

MP Richard Arkless and MSPs Oliver Mundell and Colin Smyth have all said they will work to help retain as many jobs as possible on the site.

The Unite union said it would "work hard" to protect the posts of its members working with the company.

Administrators Armstrong Watson have said they are focused on allowing the business to continue to trade while seeking a sale to preserve the "maximum number of jobs".

'Major employer'

It has provoked a string of political pledges to support those efforts.

"This is hugely worrying news for the workers at Penman and their families who rely on the jobs at the site," said Dumfriesshire MSP Mr Mundell.

"I am very committed to working closely with the appointed administrators who I'm looking to meet within the coming days to ensure workers are protected and that a buyer can be found as quickly as possible for the business.

"My priority right now is to ensure that jobs are protected at the site in the event of any sale to make sure Penman Engineering remain a major employer in the area."

Dumfries and Galloway MP Mr Arkless said he had postponed a constituency tour to meet employees and would meet administrators.

"My focus is on the workers, their families and the wider community and supply chain who rely on Penman Engineering," he said.

"I will be seeking assurances that the administrators are looking for a new buyer for the company and that most, if not all, of the jobs at the Penman's site in Dumfries will be safeguarded

"I recognise the important contribution that Penman Engineering makes to the local economy and will be doing everything in my power to save local jobs and ensure the firm continues to operate well into the future."

'Way forward'

South of Scotland MSP Mr Smyth said it was "deeply worrying" news.

"Penmans have provided high quality jobs locally for decades and we have to ensure everything possible is done to retain those jobs," he said.

"It is vital that local agencies now do all they can to continue to support the company to find a way forward and that now means finding a new owner.

"I will be pressing the administrators to do that in a way that secures the maximum number of jobs."

The Unite union said it would work hard to protect the jobs of its members at the firm.

Regional officer Paul Neilson said: "This is a worrying time for our members at Penman Engineering.

"In the coming days and weeks, we will support them, and will work hard to ensure that their rights are respected in this process.

"We will also work hard to protect their jobs."

He said they would "work constructively" with the company and the administrators and called on local politicians to help find a buyer.

"Scotland can't afford to lose more high-skilled jobs from the manufacturing sector, and Dumfries and Galloway can't afford another blow to its economy," he said.

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