Jobs to go at Fylde coast flagship plastics manufacturer

A union has described plans to cut 79 jobs at a hi-tech plastics manufacture a hammer blow to manufacturing in Lancashire.

Friday, 14th August 2020, 2:31 pm
Updated Friday, 14th August 2020, 2:34 pm

The GMB union said it would work to help staff hit by the planned job cuts at the Victrex plant at Thornton on the former Hillhouse ICI Chemicals site near the River Wyre.

The company has been hailed as a paragon of modern British hi-tech industry and has export markets all around the world.

It has steadily expanded operations at Thornton in recent years, specialising in polymers such as PEEK and PAEK which have a variety of uses from mobile phone screens to aircraft and motor vehicle parts and in the health sector.

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The Victrex plant at Thornton

But bosses have said that the coronavirus lockdown has hit some of those markets hard and was likely to do so for months to come, therefore cost cutting was necessary.

A statement to staff said: "Like many companies, Victrex has started to see the impact from Covid-19 in its trading performance.

"Many of our key markets are seeing reductions of 40 per cent in terms of volume or revenue.

"Some economists have predictions of a longer recovery period across aerospace automotive and energy.

The plant produces hi-tech polymers used in a wide range of industries world-wide

"We therefore have to take further action now to remain a viable and sustainable business for the future."

They said they were aiming to meet the 79 UK redundancies due by October by a voluntary scheme before considering compulsory action.

But they said the front line and production teams would be most hit plus some support staff.

GMB's regional organiser Stephen Boden said: “This is a hammer blow for manufacturing in the North West – and the UK as a whole.

“The decision to restructure manufacturing within the company in this capacity is devastating news for GMB members and their families.

“Members should have no fear that we will work closely with affected members to mitigate compulsory job losses.

“We will fight tooth and nail to secure the best possible deal through the consultation period.”