HALF of the workforce at a Helsby manufacturing plant will be made redundant in January it has been announced.
Staff at INEOS Compounds, Helsby, are devastated by the news and many are fearing for the future of the site.
Alec Roberts, 58, of Latham Avenue, Helsby, who has worked for the company for 15 years, said: “Everyone’s devastated, there are a lot of people here between about 40 and 50 who have children and mortgages and there’s a lot anxiety regarding them losing their jobs.
“They have built a place in the north east so it’s been on the cards for a while. They are taking away half the work force, they want about 13 to go, there won’t be voluntary redundancies because there is no incentive.”
The announcement followed news that INEOS Compounds is moving part of its production of PVC – used in the construction and motor industries – to a facility at Newton Aycliffe, Teeside.
Country Manager for INEOS Compounds Jerry Tweddle said: “This was a very difficult decision to make. Everyone at the Helsby plant has worked hard to improve production efficiency of flexible compounds in recent years. However, if we are to secure the future of the flexible compounds business, production has to move to our site at Newton Aycliffe which has more modern assets and lower energy costs.
“We have invested more than £500,000 in new technology and capacity at Helsby this year in rigid compounds, which will remain the core of the production strategy at the site.”
INEOS spokesman Richard Longdon added: “The move takes into account forecasts for customer demand for compounds across the business in the UK and export markets, supplied from Helsby and will help to maintain the long-term competitiveness of the business. The change, which is planned to take place early next year, will affect a total of 13 people at the Helsby site.
“INEOS Compounds is working with staff affected by this proposal and will seek opportunities for employees at other sites in the north west. The company has communicated the necessary changes to its employees as part of its consultation process and met with Union officials on Thursday November 20.”