Jobs lost as boat building work stops

The boat-building division of an historic Norfolk company is closing with the loss of up to 70 jobs - but bosses said they hoped work could resume in the future.

Staff at CJ Broom & Sons Ltd based in Brundall, were made redundant this week. But Broom Boats Ltd, the boat service company which operates Broom's marina, mooring place of 150 privately-owned Broom and other boats, will continue to operate as normal with its 50 staff. The action is part of a major re-organisation following both companies' sale to businessmen Mark Garner and Akis Chrisovelides six weeks ago.

Mark Garner, Broom chairman, said: "New Broom boat sales currently are weak. After several years of major boat building losses amounting to more than £1m, we have had to call a halt to boat-building for the time being. We hope to be able to resume this part of the business in due course."

Mark Garner stressed that all other parts of the Broom organisation - the marina, brokerage, repairs, refurbishment and waterside diesel, were unaffected.

Staff, many of whom have worked at the boat builder for decades, said the news came without warning. Stephen Booth, 53 from Hellesdon, a fabricator welder in the stainless steel department, had worked at the company for 20 years. He said: "It was quite a shock I've been there 20 years but a lot of staff have been here longer, since they left school. When we returned to work after the bank holiday and we were told there was a meeting at 9am and we met the new owners for the first time. Their aim had been to build 12 boats a year and sell them to dealers, but we were told things weren't as rosy as they thought. The news came without warning and we were made redundant with immediate effect. Afterwards, the place was like a ghost town. We knew things were hard and business has been quite quiet for a while. But when the new people came in they had new ideas and it looked as if things were picking up."

David Brooker, 51 from Blofield, had only been working for the company for a year but has 25 years' experience in the industry. He said: "It was a big shock as there was no consultation period or warning, but hopefully I'll get another job at a boat builder."

CJ Broom * Sons Ltd posted a lost of £505,160 for the year ending November 30, 2009, while Broome Boats posted a yearly lost of £428,360 for the same period.

Founded in 1898, Broom Boats was bought out of its 112 year long family ownership in July. Three generations of the Broom family had led it through two world wars, economic upheaval and a revolution in boat manufacturing.

2 September 2010
Eastern Daily Press

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