A COMPANY has sent staff home because of a problem with its bank account.

Workers at Octaveward, in Darwen, turned up for work to be handed letters telling them to return home and await further news.

Last week, the 60 staff were paid by cheque, prompting concern about the Balle Street-based firm, which makes doors, window frames and fibre glass canopies.

Installations manager Maurice Hobson, speaking on behalf of managing director Grant Wignall, said: “It is not clear to me or the MD what has happened.

"The company account may have been frozen. The assumption is that others are in control of the funds.

"We were told not to let workers into the building because there is a question mark over whether they would be paid.”

Mr Hobson said most staff who banked last week’s cheques were paid, but some who were late did not get their weekly salary.

He said the firm remained solvent “as far as I am aware”, and added: “It is as much a shock to us as to anyone else because we have got a full order book.”

A full announcement on the future of the staff would be made today or on Monday, Mr Hobson said.

One worker said he and colleagues had been sent home after they turned up for work on Tuesday.

He said: “I was paid by cheque last week and now we are all in the dark about what is happening.”

Unite union representative Cathy Rudderforth said: “If it is a bank payment problem, they should allow people to come into work and pay them as and when they can.”

Octaveward has only recently recovered from a devastating fire in November 2008 which left its roof and machinery badly damaged.