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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Cumbrian factory workers to lose jobs in run-up to Christmas

Dozens of workers have been told they will lose their jobs a week before Christmas following the closure of an historic factory.

Tata Steel confirmed it is closing the copper foundry plant – a site formerly occupied by Ogden & Lawson – on the Salterbeck Trading Estate in Workington.

It comes after the steel producing giant revealed it would be scaling back its workshop operations at its Workington plant.

About 90 jobs were initially feared to be at risk but that figure has now been reduced to 75.

Tata Steel would not comment on the exact numbers of employees to be axed from different parts of the business.

But the News & Star understands 27 workers at the copper foundry plant were told on Wednesday they face losing their jobs – exactly a week before Christmas.

One worker said: “I’m just sad to see 140-plus years of history ended by the stroke of an accountant’s pen.”

The firm said it has informed staff and unions at the Workington plant of the proposed “next steps” following the restructure announcement in October.

It is also making a commitment to making sure all apprentices finish their training either with the company or other providers.

Tata Steel today insisted it was committed to its operations in Workington.

Sales and marketing director Peter Hogg said: “We needed to restructure to ensure the business was sustainable in the long term and we are actively pursuing how we might work with others in the supply chain for key sectors such as nuclear.”

The company said it is offering axed staff redundancy counselling and advice on job searching and self-employment.

Meanwhile, Indorama has confirmed its polymer plant in Workington is set to close by March.

The Thai-based firm revealed it was mothballing the Siddick site with the loss of 73 jobs.

A spokesman said: “Workington management are in the process of discussing redundancy one-to-one with employees and assisting them where possible to find positions in local companies.

“I am pleased to say that we are meeting with some success in placing people but this effort will continue. Our employees are working closely with us to ensure an orderly mothballing.”

Ogden & Lawson, a manufacturer of fittings and castings in copper, brass, bronze and other high grade alloys, is believed to have originally been founded in 1865. It moved to Workington from Manchester in 1886 and was bought by Tata Steel in 1966.

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