Crucial meetings over future of Bosch site
PUBLISHED: 08:46 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 07 June 2019
Councillors have demanded an urgent meeting with Bosch senior management to seek assurances about the future or its Stowmarket factory site.
German-based multi-national tools company Bosch told employees last that is was planning to switch garden tool manufacturing from the Suffolk site to the Power Tools factory in Hungary, with the loss of up to 140 jobs.
Research and development will remain in Stowmarket which is the headquarters of its UK home and gardens business.
There is currently a workforce of 250 in Stowmarket.
The re-structuring could see making of garden tools cease at the end of the year ending decades of manufacturing.
Mayor of Stowmarket, Paul Ekpenyong said: "The announcement was a sad day for Stowmarket, absolutely.
"We have worked with Bosch over a number of years to try and keep them in the town.
"It is devastating for the people involved who are going to lose their jobs at this time, and there is the knock-on effect for their families and the community. We will do everything we can to help support the people affected, and to try to get them into new jobs."
Former Stowmarket mayor, Gerard Brewster, the lead on employment and skills on Mid Suffolk District Council and the town council, said: "We are seeking an urgent meeting with management about the future of the Stowmarket site.
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"We need to know what the future is for the site.
"It is a big and very important site for the town, and very important for the economy of the area.
"We are seeking assurances about it.
"That is separate from our concerns for the people who are losing their jobs.
"We would hope their own people are supporting those who are going to lose their jobs.
"We also want to support the guys and girls who are losing their jobs at the site.
"Many of them have skills, which are transferable, and should be attractive to other businesses."
Lawn mower production on the site goes back the days of Suffolk Iron Foundry, Suffolk Lawnmowers and Atco-Qualcast.
Bosch acquired Atco-Qualcast Ltd at in 1995 in order to gain access to the powered gardening market.
Bosch has since focussed on the development of electric and subsequently cordless products.