The construction sector is always one of the hardest hit by any crisis in the economy, and COVID-19 has proved no exception. But Huddersfield's PMW Quarries is determined to hang in, according to director Danny Watson.
“As it stands we've got half the fleet of 15 working, all with instructions to follow social distancing advice, and the other half of the lads have been furloughed,” he told CM.
“The office staff are working from home. They've taken all the computers and chairs with them, and we're basically living off WhatsApp.”
He said work levels initially nosedived but there has been a little recovery, although he suspects it might be temporary.
“The customers we've got now are finishing off some big jobs where there are big holes in the ground,” Watson explained. “So I'm expecting it to come to a halt at any second.”
Fortunately the company has been able to arrange payment holidays on its truck finance, and was already ahead on other commitments before the lockdown was brought in.
“We struggled in the 2008 banking crisis so we know how hard things can be,” Watson said. “But my two lads and my business partner's lad are both looking to join the business so, whatever it takes, we want to be here and as healthy as possible at the end of it, and to maintain the fantastic staff that we've got. If that means we have to get a bank loan out to cover the wages for the next month or two,” he assured us, “that's what we'll do.”