HUNDREDS of workers fear for their jobs after a construction firm went into administration.

Staff at Killby and Gayford, in Radford Way, Billericay, were given the news at 11am on Wednesday.

The company, which specialises in construction, renovation, joinery and repair work, was founded more than 150 years ago, expanding from offices in London to branches in Cambridge, Leeds and Billericay.

This comes after news that unemployment in the UK fell for the first time in a year, by 35,000, to 2.65million, between January and February.

A 63-year-old joiner, who has worked with the company for more than 20 years, but did not want to be named, said: “We just had a meeting at 11 o’clock this morning and were told we had to pack up our things and go, and claim for redundancy.

“I’m feeling quite sick about it. I’ve loved working here and I’m sorry to have to leave and see the place close after so long.

“People are really upset about it all. So many have mortgages and bills to pay, which they will now be left to struggle with.

“There must be at least 200 of us here who have been left without a job. The company has just swung its axe and that is that.”

When the Echo attended the site, staff were in the process of removing furniture, tools and equipment from the building.

No one from the company was available for comment yesterday.

Companies House, which registers businesses, shows Killby and Gayford has faced ten attempts by businesses to get it wound up in the past year, as they claimed they were owed money.

Holly House Hospital, in Buckhurst Hill, Essex, was due to have a £8.9million four-storey extension completed by the company by autumn this year.

Director Phil Bates said: "We were informed by Killby and Gayford they have gone out of business and have already made arrangements to ensure the work continues. We do not anticipate any disruption to our building delivery programme."