Swift Confirm Factory Closure And Redundancies

Swift reduce their headcount
Swift reduce their headcount

Wednesday, 08, Jan 2020 03:49

By William Coleman

Some sad news has come from one of the UK's most popular caravan manufacturers who have been forced to cut staff numbers and even close down production due to a rocky year and some negative political decisions.

Toward the end of last year CaravanTimes reported that Swift were taking some staff into consultation to

reduce staff numbers but nothing had actually been publicly, or officially announced, until now.

Due to a "turbulent political and economic climate" Swift have made the difficult decision to cut the production of their touring caravans and motorhomes, which has sadly had a knock on effect for their staff numbers.

Following this very bad news for the staff Swift actually took employees into consultancy and made redundancies in December for staff at certain locations.

The caravan manufacturer has confirmed it has made a series of redundancies at their East Yorkshire facility. The Cottingham based firm have 1100 people under their employ.

On top of reducing the headcount Swift have also totally closed the Mexborough manufacturing facility in South Yorkshire. But in some good news from all the bad, staff that have been affected at this site have been transferred to East Yorkshire location.

So it seems that Swift are still very much in a position to continue business and do want to retain as many staff as possible to ensure they can still run and produce an amount of vans that will be healthy for the company to maintain.

A spokesman said: "Due to the prolonged turbulent political and economic climate which has impacted on consumer confidence, the company has found it necessary to reduce its production volume of touring caravans and motorhomes.

"As a responsible manufacturer, we actively respond to market changes and the challenges they present, constantly reviewing our cost base to ensure the company is as fit as it can be today and into the future.

"In November, the company entered into consultation process with its employees to consider options for streamlining the business in line with the reduction of production volumes.

"As a responsible manufacturer, we actively respond to market changes and the challenges they present, constantly reviewing our cost base to ensure the company is as fit as it can be today and into the future.

"In November, the company entered into consultation process with its employees to consider options for streamlining the business in line with the reduction of production volumes.

"Through collaborative working during the consultation with employee representatives, we worked together to agree a fair and transparent process for those affected by the review.""

For quite a while we have seen both the positive and the negative impacts of Brexit on the caravan and motorhome world. There has been a huge volume of UK holidaymakers opting to stay at home for their holidays but this unfortunately has not been reflected in the sales numbers of new vans.

Some say Brexit has been a good excuse that has been thrown around quite a bit to deflect some poor decisions but I feel that there are genuine cases where the uncertainty of the future has caused major issues for companies in England, Scotland and Wales.

Another concern that has lead to issues within the industry, and has been a major factor in Swift's recent decisions, is the new road tax prices for motorhomes. The new VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) will see buyers pay a fee of up to £2,135 when they first buy a motorhome. This is an issue that has faced such a tremendous backlash as it could be quite a blow to sales figures across all dealers and manufacturers.

This downsizing has come as a bit of a shock as Swift had reported in May that the company turnover had gone up to £287.8m due to a boost in sales. It just shows what a difference 7-8 months can make.

In a recent update Swift announced that some of the staff opted for voluntary redundancy whereas others were transferred their roles from the Mexborough facility to Cottingham. Despite the best efforts around 50 people have now been made redundant. Very sad news indeed.

A spokesperson from Swift spoke to Hull Live and said "Unfortunately at our Mexborough site we were not able to identify any viable business solutions to maintain production.

"As a result the site will not operate past 2019. A small number of colleagues will be transferring to our Cottingham site in the New Year."

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