Jobs at risk in move to cut costs

AROUND 100 manufacturing jobs are likely be lost in Diss over the next 18 months under plans by Hamlin Electronics Europe to transfer the manufacturing part of its East Anglian operation to a lower-cost country overseas.

AROUND 100 manufacturing jobs are likely be lost in Diss over the next 18 months under plans by Hamlin Electronics Europe to transfer the manufacturing part of its East Anglian operation to a lower-cost country overseas.

However, Hamlin - a specialist producer of safety-critical sensors, mainly for the automotive industry -

says that its Global Technical Centre, which employs about 60 staff, is expected to remain in the area and expand.

The company said that increasing global competition and the resulting pressure to drive down production costs had forced it to re-evaluate its manufacturing presence in the U.K.


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“The company will continue to explore all avenues to reduce manufacturing costs and increase production through additional sales and partial off shoring as part of its consultation exercise,” it said in a statement, but added: “Regrettably manufacturing in the UK may no longer be a viable option for the company.”

Consultation with staff began has begun with immediate effect and the proposals could see a first phase of redundancies taking place in early 2008 with the remainder phased throughout 2008 and 2009.

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Antony Howell, president of Hamlin Electronics Europe, said: “This is a very sad day for us all and a bitter blow for those in manufacturing who have worked so hard with us to stave off this decision.

“Electronics manufacture has been established in Diss for over 40 years and many of us have worked for Hamlin here for more than half that time. The reality is that it may simply no longer be an option for us to continue manufacturing in the UK.”

He added: “While it may be no comfort to those affected by this move, we are fully committed to retaining our Global Technical Centre in the region and the skilled engineers employed in it.

“We expect it to play an increasingly important global role for Hamlin in the future as the automotive and consumer goods market uses more and more of the types of high-technology sensors we develop.”

Hamlin - which already has sister manufacturing operations in the United States and Mexico, and additional sales offices in mainland Europe and China - added it would work closely with the local authority, training and employment organisations to ensure that staff affected were “fully supported”.

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