Consultation begins on job cuts at Calder Vale mill

Vale Mill, Calder Vale
Vale Mill, Calder Vale

Job losses are pending after local company Lappet Manufacturing Company  announced a restructure.

As many as 58 jobs could be lost at Vale Mill at Calder Vale and Gleneden Mill in Carlisle.

The small Lappet Dyeworks in Lancaster is also included in the consultations on job cuts.

The Arab head shawl manufacturing business says demand for its product has dropped in recent years.

Managing Director Bob Quick said it was expected the majority of job losses would be in Cumbria but all three sites were included in the consultation with some job losses predicted at both mills. It is intended that one of the main weaving sheds in Carlisle will close.

There are 150 workers employed at Calder Vale and 92 in Carlisle and Bob said it is hoped some of the redundancies would come from volunteers. He said: “I think unfortunately there will be a number of redundancies, Before any final decisions are made we shall consult thoroughly with our employees and unions on this issue and we very much regret the concern that this announcement will inevitably cause.”

He added: “Head shawls are our sole product which we sell to Saudi Arabia. In the last year or two there’s been a sea change in the market. We’re looking at how we can make the factories economically viable in the future.”

He said political and economic uncertainty in Saudi Arabia and changing fashions, with some younger men not choosing to wear head shawls, meant it was necessary to reduce production capacity to meet new order levels.

The company, which produces high quality shawls,is owned by Isle of Man holding company United Manufacturers and Trading Company Ltd. A company statement said:“Demand for products has declined over a period of years which together with macro-economic factors in its main overseas market has led to a loss of market share.”