Cheetah Marine: Local Jobs For Local People?

Have Cheetah Marine been practising what they’ve been preaching?

Cheetah Marine: Local Jobs For Local People?We all remember the phrase ‘Local Jobs For Local People’ that was used by local boatbuilder, Cheetah Marine, when they fought to gain permission for their seafront development.

They (and their supporters) mentioned many times how the company provided jobs for ‘local’ people including in the interview that Simon did when he went to see them back in March 2007.

15.05 mins into part two of the recording (we’ve separated it out below for ease), you’ll hear Sean Strevens say

“If we were in it for the money, we’d be building boats in Poland at half the labour rate, it’s a simple as that. We’re in it because we’ve grown up in Ventnor, we employ local people, a lot of local people … ummm … rely on us and we want to keep that going.”

Have a listen

Cheetah Marine on video admitting to four Polish workers
So you can imagine our surprise when we came across a video that appears to be have been made in 2007 which includes Polish workers employed at Cheetah Marine.

The film is a very touching story about Hubert Litwa, a Polish worker who came to the UK to take advantage of the better job opportunities and make enough money to build a home for his family and pay for cancer treatment for his wife.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we have no problem whatsoever with Eastern European workers coming to the UK, but it does stick in the throat a little when someone has used the ‘local jobs for local people’ argument, yet does the polar opposite.

Yes, of course, we realise that the remainder of the employees are local people and we give credit to Cheetah Marine for that, but really, was it reasonable for them to use this argument?

Watch for yourselves, between 1.56 min and 2.25 min into the film, Sean says

“The few Polish guys we’ve got, including Hubert, put a lot of effort and are far more dedicated than some of the younger guys we’ve taken on over the last few years.

“Having now got involved and we’ve got four polish guys here and seeing their keeness for manufacturing, it’s vital if we want to stay in business.”

Wednesday, 3rd June, 2009 11:19pm



Filed under: Business, Community, Planning

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24 Comments on "Cheetah Marine: Local Jobs For Local People?"

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I’m an IOW ex-pat, living in Sweden. I have recently been having a number of discussion about a migrants role in society and acceptance and something about this doesn’t sound right to me. When does a Pole living on the IOW become a ‘local’? Where are you defining local? If they are paying council tax, income tax, buying from local businesses, using IOW transport why are they… Read more »
Helen C

Great post Jason!

Debby Robinson
Sorry but you’ve missed the point entirely. Please play the video. This piece isn’t about foreign labour – it’s about Cheetah Marine. When they pitched their Eastern Esplanade scheme one of the main ‘selling points’ was providing jobs for the town. This has been repeated over and over again as it’s the only plus point that can be dragged up to support Cheetah Marine’s impact on the… Read more »
Sorry, I don’t think I am missing the point. Where do you draw the line on local – if someone commutes from Newport and uses their wages to build a house there, does their shopping there and supports their family there does that disqualify them from local as the money is not going directly to Ventnor? What the employees do with their earnings is moot – whether… Read more »

From what I heard they had said the jobs would go to people who had grown up around Ventnor and didn’t want to have to travel to Cowes or further for work. Keeping it local.

I think Debby is right the issue is not about local jobs but more about people doing the opposite of what they said.


local? only if you’re born here according to some. regardless of what you put back into the community. daft isn’t it (and something i don’t agree with – i love a bit of diversity)

My company has been an employer in the area for over 5 years. When we moved here, we expected to employ local people and expected to keep it that way. We did employ several local people, and it radiply turned into a nightmare. Every business (and as such, their employees’ salaries and the local economy) depends on the consistent performance of their employees; it’s vital to find… Read more »
Debby Robinson

This piece is about Cheetah Marine, not foreign labour versus local.
Please see my response to Jason.

I lived on the island for 7 years in the 70’s and am just moving back, to Ventnor, which I love. My son was born here and is a true caulkhead. Whilst not appreciating the politics and history, I sense a lot of sniping at Cheetah Marine and their activities, some obvious , some surreptitious. Why ? I actually like the development at the Marina, the Boathouse,… Read more »
One or two people above seem to be going out of their way to be obtuse. Jason, local people means people already available to the local job market at the time that jobs are offered by Cheetah Marine (regardless of whether they are any good or not). If we were to take it to mean anybody who arrives in the locality to take up a job with… Read more »

This was never about the polish or Hard work.
It is simply about two things.

1) Getting the planning consents (so pacify the objectors with “Jobs for the locals”

2) Cheap labour (wherever the source)

I wonder if those people critisizing Cheetah Marine’s use of non local labour (Jason makes more sense on the definition of local) have ever employed ‘local’ labour – it’s not a happy experience when the ‘local’ preference is a 3 day working week. What do you do then – let the business go. I agree with Roy – too much sniping at Cheetah Marine, and they wanted… Read more »

Maybe it is time that people let this conversation about cheetah marine end?
The plot of land is starting to look great down there. The building has been designed very well and is fitting in to it’s surroundings. I think what they have done down there is a vast improvement of how it looked before.

I too say well done CM for running and expanding a business based in Ventnor. Of course there are some unfortunate issues concerning the paddling pool wall and the lease but for these I blame the idiot officials who agreed these items. My only criticism is the colour blue of the boat factory which I think is too dark! — If only they had matched the fish… Read more »

I think we all need to look at the bigger picture, and be more objective. The end result is pleasing and a dramatic improvement to the landscape. The end justifies the means here. I do agree though the New England washed lighter blue look of the fish factory would have been softer and easier on the eye, that would be my only criticism.

Helen C
Having read all the posts it seems that other businesses have raised some worrying points re issues with ‘local’ staff. Maybe we have been lucky but all of our staff are IOW nationals (LOL) and are fantastic but I would certainly employ anyone from overseas if I thought they’d be a good part of our team. If most of Cheetah Marines staff are ‘local’ then I can’t… Read more »
fat boy fat

I was beginning to think I was the only one who diden,t object to Cheetah marine development it,s an impressive building helping employment for local(who said that) people and for goodness sake at least someone has spent some money on the seafront.As for the definition of local you can argue that for as long as it takes the town council election results to come in!