Taskforce set up to support staff at Delphi in Sudbury criticised by Unite

Delphi Diesel Systems. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Delphi Diesel Systems. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A taskforce set up to support staff at a Sudbury firm after it was earmarked for closure has been criticised by a trade union over its “lack of a coherent blueprint”.

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk. Picture supplied by JAMES CARTLIDGE

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk. Picture supplied by JAMES CARTLIDGE - Credit: Archant

Unite has said it is unclear what the South Suffolk Taskforce has achieved in the last six months to safeguard manufacturing and employment at Delphi Diesel Systems.

Delphi announced in August last year that the Newton Road site will be scaled down before finally closing in 2020, with the loss of around 500 jobs.

South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who is chairman of the taskforce, said the work of the group continues but meetings have proved difficult to schedule with all concerned parties.

The taskforce consists of representatives from Suffolk County Council and Babergh District Council with advisers from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the New Anglia Growth Hub, Job Centre Plus and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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Neal Evans, Unite regional manager, said: “Taskforce members have been to the site to talk to the management, but we understand that no-one from the workforce has been consulted, which is a strange omission and gives a one-sided view of the firm’s future viability.”

A report by the Syndex consultancy, commissioned by Unite, said that Delphi had a unique position in the UK economy and had a viable future.

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Mr Evans said: “It is clear that the Sudbury site can have a prosperous future. That’s why the apparent lack of a coherent blueprint from the taskforce is very worrying.

“We believe that the best option for this site is that another company takes it over and develops it in a proactive manner.”

Mr Cartlidge said: “In terms of action, we have been taking evidence. Our next meeting is planned for early May.

“We had hoped to meet before that but it has been very difficult to arrange a date with all parties.”

Chris Starkie, chief executive at New Anglia LEP, said: “We are working with Delphi, local authorities and other partners to ensure the best possible outcome for staff, local businesses in the supply chain and other companies looking to recruit skilled staff.

“That work continues and the taskforce will be meeting again soon to discuss the latest opportunities.”

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