WORKERS who lost their jobs today as Newport-based Quinn Radiators Limited went into administration have spoken of their anger and dismay

The Argus broke the story this morning that around 280 people had lost their jobs at the company's Imperial Park factory.

Workers were given the bad news as they arrived at what was due to be the start of their shift.

“Everyone’s just in shock, it’s come out of nowhere,” one employee told the Argus.

“We first heard about it this morning. People turned up and the gates were locked.”

He said employees were asked to go inside to meet representatives from administrators Grant Thornton, and were given letters notifying them their employment had been terminated.

He added: “There are about 16 people being retained, mainly finance and engineers, to keep the lines going, but everyone else is going – I think there are more than 200 employees in total.”

News of the company’s situation had come as a complete surprise, he explained, saying: “We knew the company was a bit tight with sales, but it always is in the summer with radiators.

“Even last week, someone said they’d spoken to one of the head honchos and he’d said everything was fine and under control.”

Another employee, who was in management at Quinn Radiators, said there had been “rumours” within the workforce that the firm was up for sale or maybe going into administration, but that nothing was “set in stone”.

He described the staff reaction as “very sombre” and one of disbelief.

“There’s not even a redundancy package – you’ve got to do that online through the government forms,” he said.

Around 280 employees have been made redundant, out of a total workforce of around 300, Grant Thornton said in a statement.

“In recent years, the company has faced the ongoing challenge of remaining competitive in the face of increasing raw material prices and cheaper imported brands,” they added.

Workers at Quinn Radiators Ltd have been given guidance on how to make a redundancy claim through government forms.

The firm, also branded as QRL Radiator Group, makes a range of radiator and heating products for the UK and European wholesale markets.

In 2016, the firm received £3 million loan support from the Welsh Government to create 120 new jobs at its Newport base.

Alastair Wardell, Trevor O’Sullivan and Matthew Richards of Grant Thornton have been appointed joint administrators of Quinn Radiators Ltd.

Mr Wardell said: “Over the past months, the directors actively sought a buyer for the company in an effort to preserve jobs and keep the business in the UK.

“These discussions ceased last week without success and with unsustainable losses continuing the directors took the difficult decision to appoint administrators, resulting in the immediate redundancy of circa 280 employees.

“Our priority now is to work with the retained employees to ensure we achieve the best outcome for creditors.”

In a letter to employees, seen by the Argus, the administrators said a ‘task force’ had been set up to help workers with benefits, careers advice, immediate employment opportunities, and re-training options.

An event will be held at the Newport Centre on Wednesday from 9am-1pm, for employees to discuss the above matters.

Jayne Bryant, Newport West’s AM, has called on the Welsh Government to do everything it can to support the site’s laid-off workers and their families.

“This is devastating news that has come completely out of the blue,” Ms Bryant said.

“I have huge sympathy with all the staff who have been a loyal workforce over many years.”

Wales’ economy minister Ken Skates AM said: “This is clearly very disappointing news for the workforce at Quinn Radiators and their families.

“My thoughts are with all those affected today.”

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government had begun immediate support for those impacted.

“We will do all we can over the coming weeks and months to help those affected find alternative employment and training support,” he added.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, leader of Newport City Council, called the news “extremely disappointing”.

“The company has been in the city for a number of years and we had hoped they would be here for many more to come,” she said, adding the council would be involved in helping workers access employment and training opportunities.