Unions say crisis in building industry is deepest in areas away from a ‘mini-boom’ in parts of the south-east. (Pictured: building workers during construction of The Shard, London)


The construction union UCATT is seeking urgent answers after receivers were called in at a long-established building firm, WH Brown Construction in Dundee, where up to 140 jobs are under threat.

Unions say a crisis in the building industry is deepest in areas away from a ‘mini-boom’ which is taking place in parts of the south-east.

(Pictured: building workers during construction of The Shard, London)

It is believed WH Brown, which has been a well-known name in the regional building industry for nearly four decades, has been unable to obtain credit to ride out the current downturn, despite securing a series of housing, industrial and local authority contracts in the last three months.

Harry Frew, UCATT regional secretary, told UnionNews: “Staff were called into a meeting at 11.30 on Monday morning and told the situation.

“They were told to come back on Friday, but we’ve not been given any more details.

“These jobs are only the tip of the iceberg when a company like this closes.

“That’s only the part you see, but there’s a supply chain out there and they are struggling to survive if they’re not able to get contracts either.”

The union estimates that some 20,000 construction jobs have been axed in Scotland in the last five years, in a crisis largely blamed on the collapse of any new major social housing projects, especially in the north and east of Scotland.

Official figures earlier this month reported the total volume of UK construction output in the second quarter of 2012 fell by 9.5%, with the largest decrease in new infrastructure, which fell by 8.6% (pictured. Graphic courtesy of Office for National Statistics).

Receivers, Ernst & Young said staff would be offered one-on-one counselling and advice sessions.

UCATT says it is seeking urgent talks with the receivers before staff report back to the company’s offices in Dundee on Friday.

Says Harry Frew: “This is a kick in the teeth for the local economy which is already struggling.

“There needs to be an urgent change of course in the economic strategy being pursued by the government.

“The construction industry is crying out for direct government investment.

“It is essential that money is spent on projects which can begin sooner rather than later to ensure that there are not further company closures and job losses in the construction industry.”

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