Staff will fight for jobs as firm faces closure

Exterior pic of Philidas, Pontefract which is set to close at the end of the month with the loss of 39 jobs
Exterior pic of Philidas, Pontefract which is set to close at the end of the month with the loss of 39 jobs

Staff at under-threat Pontefract engineering firm Philidas - due to close at the end of the month - have vowed to fight to save their jobs.

The internationally-known company – which has been in the town for more than 70 years – went into administration at the end of last year and is due to shut on March 31 with the loss of 39 jobs.

But staff are determined to try to keep the Monkhill Lane business – which manufactures metal fasteners and bolts for the car industry – going.

One employee said: “We are not going down without a fight – we have heard there is a potential buyer who has declared a strong interest in taking on the firm as a going concern, but we believe the administrators Duff and Phelps are not considering the offer.

“Philidas is a good business with a good order book, but it appears that it will close even though there is at least one good bid on the table to buy it.

“The administrators don’t seem to be considering the offer which would save our jobs and that’s what causes so much anger. They have no intention of securing a future for the business.”

Another employee, who also did not want to be named, said: “There are entire families that work at the firm who are all likely to lose their jobs.

“Philidas is well-known across the globe with skilled staff and we’re all going to be without a job in these austere times.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper is backing the employees’ fight and has called on government ministers to step in.

She said: “More should have been done by Duff and Phelps to secure a buyer and save the jobs.

“It’s devastating that these staff will be without a job from the end of the month.

“The administrators and the government should have done everything possible to find a buyer so the business could have kept going and jobs could have been saved.

“I am worried at reports that the administrators have rejected a possible buyer and are selling off the assets instead.

“I’ve called on ministers to step in – they must not turn a blind eye to what’s happening. The workforce should have been told what offers they’ve had.”

A spokesman for Duff and Phelps said the decision to liquidate the company was unavoidable after a customer said it was moving its business to another supplier.

He added: “Since going into administration, Duff and Phelps have run the business