Workers prepare to fight closure

Saturday 23rd October 2010

Matthew Edwards, Swindon Advertiser

WORKERS at Deloro Stellite have vowed to fight against the firm’s plan to end manufacturing in the town.

Staff were informed on Thursday that the company was proposing to stop manufacturing in Swindon, despite claims the factory is the most efficient in the group.

The proposal, which is now in a 30-day consultation stage, could lead to a loss of almost 100 jobs.

The company plans to relocate to a new location in Swindon as a distribution centre for products made elsewhere.

Hugh Kirkbride, regional officer for the Unite trade union, said: “As far as we are concerned it is not all done and dusted.

We are not accepting the loss of the jobs and the workers there are prepared to fight it out, we’re going to do what we can. This has infuriated the workforce, they’re upset and they’re angry.”

Many workers were surprised by the proposals because they say the plant in Cheney Manor is profitable.

One third of workers are subcontracted, the plant is profitable and the most efficient in the group,” said Mr Kirkbride.

We accept the need for investment but we are achieving good efficiency with old equipment. If the investment is going to go anywhere it should be Swindon. This is a profitable factory, with masses of work and a skilled workforce. We can see no valid reason why Swindon should be closed.”

If the proposal goes ahead 97 people would be under threat of redundancy with only a small sales operations of 20 people being set up at a separate location.

Another meeting is planned for Tuesday at 9am where workers are hoping to have questions regarding the proposal answered.

Mr Kirkbride said: “We’ll see what they have to say then. We’ve given them the questions we want answered. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it and we want to know about other plants and their figures, and those are the questions we will put forward on Tuesday. I think we’ll get some answers and we are determined to fight this.”

Keith Rippington, managing director at the Swindon site, said he thought there was a degree of shock as would be expected from such an announcement.

I honestly think in any event there will be a residual business here in Swindon, we are looking to cease manufacturing, not to close the business,” he said.

We are now in this consultation stage which is a minimum of 30 days. We are legally bound to discuss with all concerned parties, we will work with the union to explore all possibilities.

At the moment it is to early to say anything if you hear or read anything other than what is in our letter of proposal it is pure speculation.”

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