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Developer keeps joinery jobless working

Michael Richer sits outside his house in Latham with his daughter Kylie Richer and granddaughter Sarah Watson after he lost his job from Douglas Quality Joinery.

Michael Richer sits outside his house in Latham with his daughter Kylie Richer and granddaughter Sarah Watson after he lost his job from Douglas Quality Joinery. Photo: Jay Cronan

A Canberra developer and a construction union have stepped in to help workers left jobless by the collapse of the city's biggest joinery.

Douglas Quality Joinery ceased trading this week after its administrator deemed it impossible to save.

The company will be liquidated, leaving up to 40 workers without jobs and many homeowners and businesses with half-finished work.

The failure has also reportedly left individual tradesmen owed up to $25,000.

The Englobo Group, developing the Aurora Apartments in Kingston, said on Tuesday it would offer jobs to the 10 Douglas workers employed at its site, either as direct contractors or through other firms.

Englobo director Terry Shaw said the developer would also support Douglas subcontractors.

''We'll do what we can. It's only small, but it's something,'' he said. ''It will give them another four to five weeks' worth of wages and get them through to Christmas.''

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said it would help find jobs for its members and support their families over the holidays. Only a few of the workers are believed to be union members.

The union's ACT secretary, Dean Hall, said he met the owner and receivers on Tuesday to try to secure his members' entitlements.

''The CMFEU will do what we can to support the workers and their families, and we'll do everything we can to get our members jobs.''

He sympathised with the other workers and said the union was ready to offer them advice.

''It's a terrible time to lose your job. However, the best insurance policy they can have to protect their rights and entitlements would be to be members of the union.''

One of the joinery's customers, Martin Miles, of Weston, was left with only a shell of the new kitchen he ordered. He paid almost $30,000 for the job, which included a large payment last week just before Douglas went into receivership.

Accounting firm RSM Bird Cameron took control of the joinery on Friday. The administrator, Frank Lo Pilato, said delays and cost blow-outs within the company - relating to three large contracts at the Aurora Apartments, the Bellerive Apartments and Questacon - contributed to the collapse.

However, Douglas's failure was unrelated to any problems with those projects themselves.

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