Textile workers cut

Cashmere firm Johnston’s of Elgin reveals 88 job cuts

Johnston's of Elgin

Union reps are attempting to save jobs

Johnstons of Elgin is expected to shed 88 jobs – 65 in Elgin and 23 in Hawick because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the business. 

The firm manufactures and sells cashmere and fine woollens and employs about 1,000 staff.

It announced last month that it expects sales for 2020 to be more than 30% down because of the pandemic and is preparing for a slow recovery through 2021. 

Only last month Simon Cotton, chief executive, was confident that the business could handle the challenge of Covid.

In a statement with the annual results announced on 14 July, he said: “Although there will be short term challenges, we remain very confident that our great team, the fundamental strength of our luxury branded partners and the growing appreciation of our own “Johnston’s of Elgin” brand puts us in a good position to thrive in the future.”

It reported a profit before tax in 2019 of £6.4m, in line with the prior year, on a 2.5% fall in sales to £77m because of a decline in domestic demand. Exports grew by 9.5%, contributing to an improved gross margin, up by 1.6% to 31.1%.

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Unite regional officer, Graeme Turnbull, said:  “There is now an ongoing redundancy consultation involving the workforce which is scheduled to conclude in October.

“While at this stage there are no compulsory redundancies Unite’s efforts will be completely fixed on ensuring that no worker will be forced to leave their role if they wish to stay at the firm.

“We understand the pressures on business due to the Covid-19 pandemic but we ask that Johnstons of Elgin work with us to ensure that we save as many jobs as possible and we stave off in all circumstances any future announcements.” 

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