Matt O'Flynn, MD of Hastings-based upholstery manufacturer Collins and Hayes, has refuted claims made by the Home Secretary – and Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye – Amber Rudd, that the majority of the business' staff are recruited from Romania and Poland rather than the UK.
Speaking on BBC Today yesterday, Amber inferred that, despite the presence of a nearby college, the company does not train locals, and instead hires in foreign labour.
Matt hit back that UK employees comprise around 75% of his workforce.
The MP, together with Furniture News’ Victoria Noakes, paid a visit to the business' Hastings showroom and factory last August, where she was given a guided tour, and spoke to Matt about Collins and Hayes' work to encourage more local people to take up a profession in the manufacturing workplace. At the time, Matt also made it clear that the business was looking for more sewing machine operators.
Matt maintains that Collins and Hayes remains dedicated to engaging with the local community and told the BBC that he found the comments made by Amber "very disappointing".