Reaction: Delphi closure would be ‘devastating news’ for workers and West Suffolk area
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Business leaders and politicians from the Sudbury area have reacted with concern about the news that the future of its biggest employer, Delphi Diesel Systems, is the subject of consultation talks.
MP for South Suffolk, James Cartlidge, said he had only heard the news late on Friday afternoon and intended to find out more next week.
He said: ”I was extremely concerned to hear this news, given the importance of Delphi to Sudbury’s economy. My priority is to try and understand precisely what is going on and to ascertain as much detail as possible about the company’s plans for the future.”
He added: “I have therefore had a brief initial discussion with the firm and arranged a more detailed conference call with the UK and European operations directors scheduled for first thing this Monday morning.”
At the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, president John McMillan said workers at the plant should “hope for the best but prepare for the worst”.
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He continued: “If Delphi should wind down it would be devastating news - not just for the people at Delphi but for smaller companies in the area who are part of its supply chain.”
Three years ago the firm, which is a global market leader in diesel fuel injection systems, celebrated its 50th anniversary since the opening of its current factory site on Newton Road and 70 years since the company - then called Lucas CAV - moved some of its operations to rural Suffolk from Acton in west London to safeguard production during war time.
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Labour county councillor for Sudbury and a former mayor of the town, Jack Owen, worked at the Delphi plant for 37 years before retiring in 2000. Two of his daughters, his son and his grandson still work there.
He said: “Everyone in Sudbury, Cornard, Waldingfield, Long Melford and Acton will know someone who works at Delphi. This is a sorry day in some respects and the local economy will be hit if it closes.”
He added: “Back in its heyday Delphi employed 2,400 workers but it has gone down over the years. There were always rumours it might close down if there was a dip in orders but things always picked up again. But when work was shipped out to Romania two years ago there were signs that things weren’t right.”