Mike’s Ice tastes global meltdown

Mike’s Ice and Refrigeration – the company that claims it brought ice manufacturing to Cayman – is feeling the heat.

After 37 years in business, the company will this week cut a handful more staff taking to as many as 20 its job losses in the past four months.

In November, the North Sound business – which employs about 170 people – made 16 staff redundant. This week, a further three or four employees will go, said founder and chairman Mike Brown, blaming a downturn in construction work.

‘We do plumbing and air conditioning and we never got any of the government projects such as the schools,’ said Mr. Brown. ‘A lot of projects have just been pulled off the shelves but that’s fairly typical of the construction industry.’

The lack of work is not for want of trying.

‘We’re out beating bushes, looking for projects,’ he said, ‘but the large stuff is drying up. It’s a pity because it’s been a hard job assembling a top-class team but the economy dictates what we do.’

Mike’s Ice, he said, had weathered other economic slowdowns since it began in 1972 with two employees.

‘We’ve survived previous recessions,’ said Mr. Brown, ‘but we were a lot smaller then and we only took on people as we needed them.’

Asked whether this would be the last of the redundancies, he said: ‘There are plans for more. This could be an interesting ride and, as for predicting the future, I wish I had that crystal ball.’

Mike’s Ice employs about the same amount of Caymanian nationals as it does expatriates.

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