More than 100 jobs to go at Suffolk factory

Garden tool manufacturing is to cease at the Bosch factory in Stowmarket.

Under the plans more than 100 jobs will be lost with manufacturing being re-located to the Power Tools plant in Hungary.

Suffolk employees heard the shock news in special meetings called this morning by the management of the German-based company.

There are currently 250 people employed at the factory which was once the home of Suffolk Lawnmowers.

Bosch said the restructuring of working at the Stowmarket site would potentially affect up to 140 jobs.

Although manufacturing would end, research and development would remain in Suffolk.

A Bosch spokesman said: "The manufacturing facilities in Stowmarket have faced difficult business conditions for many years, due to economic pressures from increased competition in the garden tools market.

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"Despite initiatives in cost reduction and efficiency improvement, the situation has not improved sufficiently. It is proposed to relocate the manufacturing of garden tools to the Power Tools plant in Miskolc, Hungary, to make it more cost-efficient.

"The garden tools manufactured in Stowmarket have been subject to increasing cost pressure, and their competitiveness has decreased significantly.

"The decision is not based on Brexit but linked to the strategic business development of Bosch Power Tools's home and garden segment.

"The proposed changes will allow Bosch Power Tools to focus on its home and garden activities on the development of new products in the growing cordless segment."

Bosch came to Stowmarket in 1995 when it bought the Atco Qualcast Ltd site.

The company will be holding meetings with Suffolk staff to discuss severance packages and to provide support in job seeking.

Unite union regional officer Neal Evans said it was a sad day for Stowmarket. He said: "It is a sad day not just for the 140 people losing their jobs, and their families, but the other local businesses where those people spend their money,"

Local MP Jo Churchill said: "Having visited the Bosch plant at Stowmarket and seen the great manufacturing and R&D facility, this is exceedingly concerning news. At what will be a worrying time for all staff I have today written to Bosch asking them to confirm what their plans are. Ensuring all employees, who are potentially affected are fully supported is vital. I remain confident about the health of the local economy, and am keen to ensure we keep valuable skilled jobs in the area."