A Dungiven firm employing around 200 people has been placed into administration, prompting calls for a ‘special economic task force’.
KPL Contracts are based in Dungiven and carry out work for utility companies such as BT, NIE and NI Water.
Sinn Féin Councillor Sean McGlinchey said: “It is not good news. It’s another major blow for Dungiven and another major blow for the North West. It’s not been good here for a long time and this is the latest example.
“I’ll be calling for the a special major economic task force from the Assembly. There has been talk about the DARD jobs coming into Ballykelly but they need to cut the red tape and get it done. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to deliver.
“My concerns for the minute are for the workers. I’m also concerned about the subcontractors. I’m going to be calling for the government to step in and make sure they are looked after.”
East Londonderry SDLP MLA John Dallat has pledged to do what he can to help the hundreds of workers at KPL Contracts in Dungiven. Mr Dallat said for more than 200 workers “the uncertainty of being unemployed is now staring them in the face”.
He said: “I was devastated when the receivers rang me as a public representative to confirm my worst fears that more than 200 workers are now at serious risk of losing their jobs.
“I share the distress of these workers and their families living, as they do, in an area where jobs are as scarce as hen’s teeth. For them the uncertainty of being unemployed is now staring them in the face, but they should feel no shame because the workforce at KPL are good people who worked 24/7 in all kinds of weather to repair and maintain utilities that we all depend on.
“The receivers - PwC - have assured me that they are doing everything possible to engage with customers to try and maintain the work which these people were engaged in.
“I hope this business can be saved and we don’t experience unemployment on this scale, which will have a serious ripple effect on other jobs in the North West.
“I will be working overtime and communicating with everyone and anyone in the Assembly who can help in this crisis in an unemployment blackspot.”
Sinn Féin East Londonderry MLA Cathal Ó hOisín said: “KPL Construction Company is a major employer not only in Dungiven but right across the North and the news that the company has gone into administration has come as a major shock to both the local community and the workers.
“This is the third local construction company that has fallen into difficulty over the past year with Patton’s and Mivan also going into administration and we need to look at ways of bringing some sort of stability to the industry.
“I am calling on the Invest NI and the banks to work with the management of KPL to save the business from folding altogether and look at the sections of the company that were trading favourable
“I am calling in the administrators to ensure that the rights of the workers are protected and that any debts to sub contractors are honoured so that we do not have a knock on effect.