Administrators for Safestyle have said the business has made around 680 of its workers redundant after it fell into administration.
Interpath Advisory said around 70 of the door and window maker’s 750 employees would be kept on in the short term to help wind down the business.
It comes after Safestyle said on Friday it intended to appoint administrators after failing to find a buyer.
The Bradford-headquartered business has a manufacturing site in Wombwell, near Barnsley and 42 branches and depots across the country.
Safestyle UK workers in Barnsley devastated by the news of factory closure and so are we. They stand in a soaking wet car park waiting to hear whether they’ll get paid. This is a scandal #WheresTheMoneyGone pic.twitter.com/2hdgeKDXF1
— GMB Campaigns North East, Yorkshire & Humber (@GMBCampaigns) October 30, 2023
The company failed after facing a series of pressures, including runaway inflation and poor consumer confidence, administrators said.
The unseasonably warm weather in September also dented demand for its products.
Video posted by the GMB union from outside the company’s Barnsley site showed what appear to be workers protesting and holding up signs asking “where’s the money gone?”
A spokesman for GMB campaigns North East, Yorkshire & Humber said: “Safestyle UK workers in Barnsley (are) devastated by the news of (the) factory closure and so are we. They stand in a soaking wet car park waiting to hear whether they’ll get paid.”
GMB organiser Bob McNeill later said: “Loyal Safestyle UK workers have been treated absolutely abysmally. They’ve been made redundant with immediate effect and told they won’t get another penny from the company.
“Bosses didn’t even have the decency to let them into the building out of the pouring rain.”
Stephanie Peacock, the Labour MP for Barnsley East, said: “Workers have literally been told in the car park, in the pouring rain, that they’ve lost their jobs.
I’m appalled that workers at Safestyle UK have today been told they have lost their jobs, while standing in the rain in a car park.
It’s a completely unacceptable way to treat workers. pic.twitter.com/YhS8QWfgTI
— Stephanie Peacock (@Steph_Peacock) October 30, 2023
“It’s absolutely appalling behaviour that anyone can be treated in this way.
“I understand workers received a text message on Friday, were told to down tools and that they could come back today to find out.
“I think there are huge questions to be answered by Safestyle, I’ve written to them this morning to demand answers.”
Safestyle suspended its shares from trading in London last Friday after it realised that a hoped-for rescue deal was unlikely to give shareholders any money back.
Later in the day the company said that even such a potential deal had proven impossible and the company was going to appoint administrators.
The company’s subsidiary HPAS and holding companies Style Group Holdings and Style Group UK concluded that they could not keep trading as a result.
Rick Harrison, managing director at Interpath Advisory, said: “These are really challenging times for companies across the home improvement market.
“After seeing strong sales during the Covid lockdown periods, many companies are seeing trading being impacted by the cost-of-living crisis and soaring costs.”
He added: “Unfortunately for Safestyle, and despite the tireless efforts of the management team over recent months, these challenges have proven too difficult to overcome.
“This will be particularly devastating for the company’s employees, as well as the many self-employed contractors who worked on behalf of the company.
“Our immediate priority will be to provide support to those impacted by redundancy, including supporting them in making claims to the Redundancy Payments Service where relevant.”
Administrators said customer orders that have not been delivered will not now be fulfilled.
They are still searching for buyers for some parts of the business, and customers may be entitled to have their orders completed by any potential new owner.
Even if the company was part-way through an installation it will not complete these orders and customers will need to find an alternative installer, they said.
Customers will not be charged for any remaining balance on their orders.
If customers have paid a deposit ahead of an installation, they should try to get that money back through their credit or debit card provider. If they paid in cash they will not get the money back and will have to register as a creditor of Safestyle.