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Famous firm to axe 150 jobs

PUBLISHED: 19:01 07 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:15 24 February 2010

By Juliette Maxam

TWO-THIRDS of the workforce at one of Colchester's oldest manufacturing companies are to lose their jobs, it has been confirmed.

About 150 jobs are to be cut at Paxman as part of a restructuring operation by parent company MAN B&W Diesel.

By Juliette Maxam

TWO-THIRDS of the workforce at one of Colchester's oldest manufacturing companies are to lose their jobs, it has been confirmed.

About 150 jobs are to be cut at Paxman as part of a restructuring operation by parent company MAN B&W Diesel.

Production of an engine, the VP185, currently made at the Port Lane factory, is to be shifted to MAN's UK headquarters in Stockport this year.

A statement from MAN B&W Diesel said: “These proposals could result in changes to employment levels and, regrettably, some job losses may be necessary, although every effort will be made within the consultations to minimise any redundancies which may arise.”

There are 249 employees working at the Colchester plant at the moment. After restructuring, there will be about 100 workers left, who will run an after-care facility, servicing engines and providing spare parts.

“The business remains committed to providing a high-quality after-sales service to customers from the Colchester site,” said the statement.

“The proposals announced are aimed at establishing the basis for a more competitive UK business and are driven by the need to balance capacity with market demand.

“With the recent developments in the world engine market, this commitment will ensure that the business is better positioned to compete more effectively and to build a more solid base for the future.

“These proposals will strengthen the British engine programme in the international market.”

Residents living near the Port Lane factory said yesterday they hoped something might still be done to save the jobs.

Rachel Vanhinsbergh, of Old Heath Road, said: “Perhaps someone should try to do something to keep them here, but then again it's probably too late for that, isn't it?”

Ross Chambers, 24, of Morant Road, added: “It's a blow for the people around here - I've got some mates who work there and I know they are gutted by what's happened. I feel most sorry for the ones with kids.”

One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “I haven't been here as long as some of the people here and it's still not easy to take.”

Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, is meeting with the company in two weeks' time to discuss its future. He described the job cuts as “dismally sad news”.

Euan Dodds, president of Colchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “From Colchester's point of view, it's very, very sad.

“Paxman's is one of the town's longest-established industrialists. I can appreciate some of the reasons, but it's disappointing at a time Colchester has suffered many job losses in the past few years.”

He added: “We are seeing a trend in Colchester that's very residentially-oriented as prices are rising and there's more and more demand for housing and I wonder if this is another site that will be developed for residential purposes.”

Since 2000 Colchester has seen many of its major employers shed hundreds of jobs, including Royal London - which has now vacated its landmark “castle” building - and Trebor Bassett, which closed its award-winning factory.

juliette.maxam@eadt.co.uk


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