Fresh jobs blow for Lowestoft

THE economy of Lowestoft has suffered another set-back with confirmation by television maker Sanyo that it is to cut jobs at its factory in the town. Union officials believe that up to 150 jobs could go at the School Road site as part of a major world-wide restructuring by the Japanese-based manufacturing giant, but the company insisted that it remained committed to retaining a presence in the town.

THE economy of Lowestoft suffered another set-back yesterday with confirmation by television maker Sanyo that it is to cut jobs at its factory in the town.

Union officials believe that up to 150 jobs could go at the School Road site as part of a major world-wide restructuring by the Japanese-based manufacturing giant, although the company insisted that it remained committed to retaining a presence in the town.

The announcement at Sanyo means that more than 1,000 workers in Lowestoft now face uncertainty over the future of their jobs.

In January hygiene services group Rentokil Initial revealed plans to close its linen business which currently employs 114 people in Lowestoft.

And last month food and household products giant Unilever said that it was to sell its Birds Eye frozen foods business, which employs more than 700 people the town.

Sanyo vice-president and director Noel Salmon said yesterday that the company had told its 400-plus staff of its intention to carry out a major restructure of its Lowestoft manufacturing facility.

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“Sanyo's Lowestoft television factory, one of the most efficient in the world, is also one of the last in western Europe to manufacture branded LCD and CRT televisions,” he said.

“Most major brand producers have transferred their manufacturing to low cost economies in central and eastern Europe or are importing OEM products from Turkish or far eastern manufacturers. This is not Sanyo policy. The company believes strongly in manufacturing its products from within the local market.

“The company believes that in order to survive it must restructure and re-focus its manufacturing and marketing strategy.

“The company will shortly introduce a new range of high added value LCD TVs, designed in Lowestoft, which will be unique in the market.

“The company strongly believes in the excellence of product design and manufacturing and will retain and enhance its product development and engineering design facilities.”

Mr Salmon added that the company would do all it could to help staff facing redundancy although he declined to give details of the number of workers facing the axe.

Sanyo has been making television sets at School Road for the past 24 years, taking over the former Pye TV factory, and has employed up to 600 people at its height.