A man sacked after his wife left the firm where both worked to join a rival is now fighting to get his own job back.

Matthew Pickard, 26, claims he has been caught in crossfire between Keighley firm Hattersley Narrow Fabrics and Dandy UK, which set up in competition two years ago in Thackley.

His wife Georgina left Hattersley a fortnight ago to join Dandy.

Mr Pickard has since been fired. He said he was handed a written ultimatum from Hattersley management stating that if his wife continued to work for Dandy he would lose his job.

Hattersley, the world's largest manufacturer of wicks, said Mr Pickard had not given assurances that he would not pass on confidential information.

Mr Pickard said: "The manager and supervisor told me the only way I could keep my job was if Georgina gave up hers - and there was no way we were going to do that.

"It amazes me they can do this sort of thing. Up until now they have said how happy they had been with my work."

Georgina, 24, said: "I am not being told what I can and can't do. We won't be blackmailed into who to work for."

The couple, who live at Braithwaite Crescent, Keighley, have a 16-month-old daughter.

A spokesman for Hattersley said today: "Matthew Pickard was asked to give confirmation to the company that he would not disclose confidential information to third parties which could have a serious effect on the business of the company.

"Mr Pickard was not prepared to give any such assurance.."

Dennis McCoy, of Dandy UK, said the firm would give Mr Pickard a job if an opening arose because it did not want to see a young family in trouble.

Mr Pickard's case has been taken up by the Transport and General Workers Union.

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