Construction firm makes quarter of its staff redundant

PUBLISHED: 11:13 09 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:27 09 July 2020

Richard Bateman (inset) said he had to make the

Richard Bateman (inset) said he had to make the "tough" decision to cut 45 jobs at the Little Plumstead business. Picture: Bateman Groundworks/Getty

Bateman Groundworks/Getty

More than 40 people have been made redundant by a Norfolk construction firm, in a move to protect the businesses’ future.

Bateman Groundworks, based in Little Plumstead, has laid 45 people off as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic - equivalent to 25pc of its workforce.

Most of the jobs lost are on-site roles across levels from construction to site management, as well as two people at head office.

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Executive chairman Richard Bateman said the loss of jobs was “tragic”, but added that he fully intends to hire back as many of the staff as possible further down the line.

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He said: “Similarly to the 2008 crash we as a business have to make some very difficult decisions. In this case it was losing 25pc of our workforce to ensure the jobs of the other 75pc.

“Back in 2008 we had to make a similar choice but within a few years were able to hire back many of the people we had let go.

“Of course some had found other jobs and some left the sector entirely. It wouldn’t be prudent for me to put a timescale on when this could happen, but we intend to bring back as many of the staff we have lost as possible.”

Mr Bateman said that he had previously had high expectations for 2020, with Bateman Groundworks performing above the national average.

“Nationally Q1 was quite subdued when it came to new residential home construction. For us January and February were strong and we had good expectations for the year. Then this happened, and no one saw it coming,” he said.

Mr Bateman said that developers had taken a “cautious” approach to reopening sites when construction was given the green light in May, but that the business was now working on 90pc of the projects on its books prior to lockdown.

However, this is at 50pc capacity.

He said: “I hope that like 2008 the industry will bounce back fairly well and we might see some return to normality by the end of 2021.”

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