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Bullen building jobs in jeopardy

PUBLISHED: 15:27 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 09:20 13 July 2010

Jobs at Cromer builders H Bullen & Son, part of the R G Carter empire are under threat.

A 30-day consultation with staff is under way at Bullens and Fisher & Co of Fakenham about a possible 60 redundancies.

Jobs at Cromer builders H Bullen & Son, part of the R G Carter empire are under threat.

A 30-day consultation with staff is under way at Bullens and Fisher & Co of Fakenham about a possible 60 redundancies. Both are arms of the Carter group and two of the oldest names in the Norfolk building industry. It was unclear what proportion of the workforce at the two firms face losing their jobs

The consultation follows the loss of about 96 jobs at R G Carter's Drayton head office at the end of last year.

Cromer's H Bullen & Son was founded in 1895 and over the years has been involved in work at Felbrigg Hall and Cromer Hospital, and became part of the Carter empire in 1935.

Fisher & Son has been operating in Fakenham since 1885 and became part of the Carter group in 1947.

R G Carter declined to comment.

Brian Rye, regional organiser of UCATT said Fisher and Bullen had been operating as a single business in recent months and that the redundancy consultation, which began on January 9, covered both.

“We went through the process with Carters at Drayton and I think it's far to say they will carry out a thorough selection process, with opportunities to challenge the process,” Mr Rye said.

But he added: “I've sat in on redundancy meetings where it's clear that people who are in no way to blame for the situation - skilled people with good work records - are facing unemployment.

“Norfolk is, at the moment, is suffering disproportionately from this downturn in the construction industry compared to the rest of the region.

“That's because of the lack of construction activity in Norfolk and the lack of vacancies within a reasonable travelling distance.

“One of the other concerns we have is that if you look at the age profile of our industry, then people who are made redundant can be lost to the industry forever and their skills are lost forever. That can undermine the local economy in the future.”

Mr Rye also raised concerns that public sector construction projects were being deferred - despite government assurances that public sector projects would be brought forward to help stimulate the economy.

“There are a lot of pronouncements about work coming forward, but the reality is that there's evidence that projects are being deferred, particularly education contracts,” he added.

“The numbers being deferred are not huge, but they are significant enough to really make a difference to contractors.”


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