Workers left their jackets draped over the gates in a poignant gesture as one of Boston’s best-known companies closed for the last time - leaving at least 185 people people out of work.
Staff at Fogarty’s were called to a meeting on Monday to be told that the firm was going into administration with immediate effect.
Devastated workers filed out of the gates for the last time after the meeting, many leaving hi-vis jackets behind on the gates and fences.
The closure ends more than 150 years of manufacturing history for the bedding company. Grant Thornton, administrators, said hot weather and retail difficulties had strained the firm’s cash flow.
A spokesman for the company told the BBC there would be 185 immediate redundancies. One union representative described the news as a ‘tragedy’.
And Boston MP Matt Warman said it was vital that those affected were given any support they could to move on.
Workers were told last Friday to come in for a meeting at 11am on Monday, which eventually took place at the firm’s Fishtoft Road base at 1pm on Monday, and at that point the staff were told the firm was closing immediately and all jobs were being lost.
But staff had been concerned for several weeks about rumours of difficulties, said one worker who lost her job.
Annice Gardener said the last few weeks had been challenging for the company with lack of stock and the loss of a big order.
“The news yesterday didn’t come as a massive shock to be honest. Everybody had had lots of questions about our future but we were told nothing,” she said.
“After receiving the news there were lots of tears; it was a very sad day for everybody involved. I’ve only worked there for a year and half but there are many who’ve been there most of their lives, and also couples who both worked there; it must be so much harder for them.
“We will not get paid from the company for our last week’s work due to the company going into administration.
“We have to go online to claim any due pay, holidays etc. I feel very sad by everything that happened; the loss of my job, the friends I will no longer be working with, and the Fogarty name that has been a name I’ve known all my life.
“As well as the obvious sadness many of us are very angry too. Angry that our questions weren’t answered,angry that we were kept in the dark so long.”
David Shamma, regional organiser for the GMB, said the union was due to meet with those affected on Monday night, and would be looking at the legal position, as there had been no formal consultation on the redundancies.
“But most importantly, it’s about getting help for our members, who have not only lost their jobs, but haven’t been paid wages for last week,” he said.
Any redundancy money will have to come from the Government, he said.
“This is 150-plus years of manufacturing in the town gone, along with all these workers’ jobs. It’s a tragedy,” he said.
Boston MP Matt Warman said it was important now to support those affected by the closure, and try and help them find new jobs as soon as possible.
“The collapse of Fogarty’s is a major blow for the 200 employees and for their families, as well as for Boston’s heritage,” he said.
“While the administrators blamed a hot summer, it’s also a reflection of the changing way we all shop, and how goods are now traded around the world.
“It’s vital that employees are helped to move in to new roles and that in the meantime people get any help they need.
“I know that Boston Borough Council and the Job Centre are already in touch with the company’s administrators and stand ready to assist staff.
“I would encourage any employees affected to contact them if they need help. I would, of course, also be happy to assist any constituents who need support to move into new jobs, and fill the existing vacancies that are currently available across the area.”
Boston Borough Council said it is working with the Job Centre and the Department of Work and Pensions to try and set up an advice fair for those left without jobs.
A spokesman said they were advising Fogarty’s employees to make their first point of call the DWP at Municipal Buildings for help with prospective future employment opportunities, self employment, Universal Credit and benefits issues.
Council leader Cllr Michael Cooper, Leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “This is a bitter blow for Boston and the people who work there.
“It’s always such a shame to lose a long-established business such as this, especially at this time of year with Christmas coming up.”