Jobs set to be lost at the Pilkington Glass factory in St Helens

140 people are on the verge of losing their jobs following the announcement by Pilkington Glass, which employs 2500 people, that it will suspend its glass production division at one of its St Helens Factories.

The company has described what it terms as making “huge losses” as its reason for halting its operations at the Cowley Hill site. This follows the receipt of £5m, in December 2011, from the government in a bid to make it create 254 jobs by investing in the latest methods of manufacturing in all factories located in St Helens.

This announcement has come as a shock to many people who stand to lose their jobs and others who rely on these production plants indirectly according to GMB union. This financial crisis has gone on for a while. For instance, the company was in a bad financial position in the beginning of 2013, which made it try to suggest reduction of salaries and discontinuing of pension increases, a plan that faced great opposition from workers, who even threatened to strike.

Pilkington has been in the glass production business since 1871. Its float glass manufacturing division will still continue at Greengate in St Helens while the other activities like silvering and laminating will be taking place at Cowley Hill factories.

The decision to halt operations in this production site was arrived at because of reduced demand for architectural glass during the economic recession. According Matt Buckley, the company’s managing director, continued losses from this business division would have hurt other business segments, that is why the company had to halt its operations.

There are already talks with employees and their representatives relating to voluntary and compulsory redundancies. A GMB representative stated that they (GMB) will meet with the company to determine whether there is anything that can be done to minimize the number of jobs lost.

This is also a big blow to the UK manufacturing sector. In the past, 2011, the company closed its Basildon, Essex factory leading to loss of up to 30 jobs. The holding company, which is Japanese, NSG already cut its global workforce by 3500 in 2012