The whole staff at the fairtrade pioneer Traidcraft were handed redundancy notices on Thursday, apart from the chief executive. The company, however, insists that it is continuing to trade normally while external advisors help it to come up with a viable business plan.
Traidcraft announced last month it was facing closure after making losses of about £500,000 last year, some of which it blamed on a disastrous relaunch of its website.
A spokeswoman for the company said this week that a proposal for the future had gone before its board for discussion, but that no details would be released before November.
This week, 67 staff at its Gateshead HQ were given notices of redundancy. Only the chief executive, Robin Roth — who joined the company two years ago and is based in Germany rather than in the UK — did not receive one.
The company confirmed the redundancies on Friday, saying that it hoped that the new business plan would “incorporate the re-employment of a number of members of staff”.
Earlier this month, Mr Roth urged church leaders to show their support for Traidcraft by placing large orders.
Some supporters have done so and trading figures for the first two weeks of October show a 13 per cent increase in the volume of orders from the previous year, and a 14 per cent rise in the value of these orders. One church, St Luke’s in Holloway, placed a £1000 order of toilet paper and kitchen roll (News, 19 October).
A spokeswoman for the company sought to reassure customers. “Traidcraft is trading normally, while plans are being considered for a new version of the company. Churches continuing to buy from Traidcraft help make a future for Traidcraft more possible. It has always been the case that all orders placed now and until the end of the year will be fulfilled.”