Mill chief issues upbeat message

Benny Hartop, Hawick Knitwear's managing director
Benny Hartop, Hawick Knitwear's managing director

It has been an eventful 12 months for Hawick Knitwear, the company’s managing director has admitted, writes Jason Marshall.

The message from Benny Hartop, published in the latest newsletter to employees, was largely upbeat but the mill boss expressed regret over the recent round of pay-offs which saw 14 workers laid off. The newsletter also revealed that the firm’s satellite unit in Galashiels is to close.

Mr Hartop wrote: “It has been an eventful 12 months for the business with highs including David Cameron’s visit in January, and the continued success of our Modern Apprentice programme which a further 14 members of staff have completed in the last 12 months.

“The low point was certainly the recent redundancies when, unfortunately, we had to part company with many good people.”

Touching on the company’s prospects over the next year, Mr Hartop added: “The outlook for the next 12 months looks encouraging with autumn 2016 developments
already started for key
accounts. Our spring 2016 collection also looks great and I fully expect orders to be well ahead of last year.”

The firm’s Galashiels unit will close today (Friday). It had become “unsustainable”, said the newsletter. All six employees in Galashiels were offered the opportunity to transfer to the Liddesdale Road factory, but only two made the switch, with the other four leaving the business.

The firm’s 200-strong workforce produces garments for high-profile customers such as
Jack Wills and Marks &
Spencer.