JMC Mechanical and Construction Ltd, with bases in Bleary and Waringstown near Portadown and Lurgan as well as Lisburn, told employees on Monday afternoon the company is now in liquidation.
More than 100 workers, including joiners, painters, plumbers, mechanics, returned from jobs across NI to their base in Bleary for an emergency meeting.
Office staff are also now redundant.
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The devastating news was revealed by the firm’s owner Mr James McCully and an accountant.
Workers had to leave company vans at the site and there was a sad exodus of dozens of men walking along Acre Lane to get lifts home.
The firm has been a successful firm for the last 20 years but, like many firms in the building industry, struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A family business, it was a major employer in the Co Armagh, Down and Antrim areas and had a fleet of around 100 company vehicles covering all areas of NI.
Their services included mechanical, electrical, planned works, response maintenance, disabled adaptations and refurbishment of homes and offices.
According to its website, its clients include the South Ulster Housing Association, Connswater Homes, NB Housing Abbeyfield, Clanmil Housing Group and Rural Housing Association.
It is understood the workforce were told they would not be paid for last week’s work but would be entitled to claim for a government redundancy payment.
Statement from the NI Housing Executive
A Housing Executive said: “We are sorry to hear that one of our contractors, JMC Ltd, has announced that it is entering liquidation.
“The company was the repairs contractor for our tenants in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area and was also the contractor for a number of improvement schemes across Lisburn and Castlereagh and the Belfast area.
“Our priority at this stage is to ensure minimal disruption to services for tenants and those planned maintenance improvement works which are on site.”
Statement from North Belfast Housing
NB Housing (North Belfast Housing) said on Twitter last night: “It is with much regret that our main contractor JMC have ceased trading with immediate effect.
“This will have an immediate impact on our ability to provide our usual repair service.
“We are working to ensure emergency arrangements can be made and we will provide an update asap.”
What the politicians said
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart said: “This is devastating news and deeply troubling for the employees losing their jobs, and their families.
“This is a long standing, well established and respected company that has obviously suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic.
“I will be reaching out to management to see if anything can be done. I will also be working with the Economy Minister to see what support can be out in place to help those losing their livelihoods to find new jobs.”
Sinn Féin MLA John O’Dowd said the closure of JMC construction company will be a huge blow for its workers and their families.
Mr O’Dowd said: “The closure will see over 100 workers losing their jobs through no fault of their own.
“Those workers have rights and entitlements which must be honoured and their wages and redundancies must be paid.
“I will be engaging with all the relevant authorities to ensure those workers who have lost their jobs receive the monies owed to them and their families.”
SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said her thoughts are with staff after the closure of JMC Mechanical and Construction.
The Upper Bann MLA said: “The news that JMC Mechanical and Construction has entered liquidation will come as a huge shock and blow to the company’s staff, with up to 140 jobs lost as a result of this announcement. My thoughts are with them and their families at this difficult time. I am heartened to hear that a number of employees have already secured jobs and hope the rest will soon, especially at a time when skilled tradespeople are in such high demand.
“My office is open for those affected and we will offer any help and support we can and I’ll also be raising this situation with the Economy Minister to see if there are any steps he can take to help those involved.
“The loss of over 100 jobs will be devastating to people across Armagh, Down and Antrim where this company operated, This is the latest in a long line of mass job losses we have experienced and we need to see action from the Executive to protect jobs and encourage investment in these areas to regenerate employment.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said: “The news of JMC contracts entering liquidation is a massive blow for staff and their families. My thoughts are with those who have now lost their jobs, in what is already a difficult time for many financially.
“JMC has been operating for over 20 years and it is devastating to see them suffer due as a result of the pandemic.
“I believe some local companies have come forward to offer jobs to some of those 140 workers, this will be good news for some, but others will still be left in limbo and we need to make sure they receive the support needed.
“This of course has a knock-on effect for housing associations who will now have to find new contractors and I would ask those who need repairs to please be patient while these associations work to ensure those emergency repairs can be made.”
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