CONSULTATION has begun with the 460 people who stand to lose their jobs at Dorset’s luxury boatbuilder Sunseeker International.

As revealed by the Daily Echo last week, the Poole-based company plans to cut around a fifth of its workforce because of the coronavirus crisis.

An email to staff confirmed that the consultation cuts was under way and would last for at least 45 days.

It said: “Collective consultation requires an employer to consult appropriate employee representatives about various matters, including ways of avoiding the dismissals, reducing the number of dismissals and mitigating their consequences. We are committed to the involvement of employees and their representatives throughout any redundancy exercise and sufficient time will be allocated to ensure consultation is meaningful. A thorough consultation process will take place, which will include both group and individual consultation.”

The majority of the Sunseeker workforce is at home on furlough leave and the email said the company would use video and audio conference calls.

BCP Council leader Vikki Slade has described the proposed redundancies as “devastating for Poole and the local jobs market” and “terrible for the affected families”.