Trade union Unite will be visiting Fairline Boats workers at their Corby and Oundle bases next week after the luxury boat builders went into administration.
Representatives of the restructuring firm FRP Advisory LLP were appointed yesterday as joint administrators to the company, which has 450 staff.
Regional officer of Unite Mick Orpin will visit to speak to workers on Tuesday, December 8.
And he says they are in discussion with the administrators to see if jobs can be saved.
He said: “This is devastating news for the workforce and their families in the run up to Christmas.
“It is a real blow to the Northamptonshire economy.
“We will be talking to the administrator this afternoon (Thursday, December 3) to see if a buyer can be found and jobs saved.
“We understand that there are orders in the pipeline.
“Basically, there is a sound business here, but it has been messed about by the management of Wessex Bristol who have a lot of serious questions to answer in relation to their conduct.
“There has been a callous disregard for the workforce, such as not paying the employees’ pension contributions for the last three months, while deducting the contributions from staff pay packets.
“Unite will be giving maximum support to our members at this traumatic time.
“We understand that another boatbuilder, Sunseeker International, based in Poole, Dorset, is seeking up to 100 workers with the skills similar to those employed at Fairline Boats.
“Unite will be talking to Sunseeker’s HR department as a matter of urgency.”
Mr Orpin also called for a probe into the workings of private equity firms after Fairline entered administration just two months after being taken over by Wessex Bristol.
He added: “The two months that Wessex Bristol was in charge was marked by secretiveness and evasiveness, even requests for meetings with management by the local MP, Tom Pursglove, fell on deaf ears.
“What has happened to the loyal and dedicated workforce shows that they have been victims of the secretive machinations of unfettered capitalism.
“This is completely unacceptable and Unite calls on the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to hold an inquiry into the business activities of private equity firms, with special reference to Fairline Boats, a well-known Northamptonshire firm, established in 1963, which has now gone into administration.”