A shockwave of horror and despair rushed across the foundry floor, as workers at the cash-strapped Ballantine’s Foundry were given the worst Christmas present ever.
They were ordered off the premises just days before Christmas when the firm finally ceased trading and closed its doors for good.
Glasgow-based administrators BDO, acting in the insolvency of the 250-year old family-run business, closed the business down on December 20, despite previous assurances to the contrary given to the Journal and Gazette in late November.
We had spoken to James Stephen, the joint administrator, who, at that time, denied that there were any plans to close the factory.
We posed the direct question to him whether the business was to close on December 20 after staff had heard rumours within the business.
He replied: “The assertion that Ballantines will close on December 20 is simply false and misleading.”
54 staff were made redundant with immediate effect, while the last eight employees are being kept on to assist the administrators in gathering the company’s assets on behalf of the creditors, the principal of whom is the Clydesdale Bank plc.
In yet another twist to this tale, Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East MSP, told us that he had spoken with Ballantine’s managing director, Ian Ballantine on November 25, three days following our publication’s printed denial that any closure was planned.
He confirmed that his discussion included the threatened closure date of December 20, denied by James Stephen of BDO only days earlier to the Journal and Gazette.
He said: “This is an extremely frustrating situation for everyone involved.
“I’ve met recently with managing director Iain Ballantine and have discussed the situation at length with Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the securing of lucrative contracts and orders have been continually frustrated by the actions of the administrators and the banks.
“I am aware that Falkirk Council have been in regular contact with the firm and have offered assistance to the management and workforce.”