Firm to axe 85 jobs

A MAJOR manufacturing company in north Essex has announced it is axing 85 jobs.Flakt Woods is shedding nearly a fifth of its workforce in Colchester as part of a "business adaptation plan to strengthen its competitive position in the market place".

A MAJOR manufacturing company in north Essex has announced it is axing 85 jobs.

Flakt Woods is shedding nearly a fifth of its workforce in Colchester as part of a "business adaptation plan to strengthen its competitive position in the market place".

The company, formerly known as Woods of Colchester, is hoping voluntary redundancies will account for the majority of the job cuts.

However, bosses say compulsory redundancy will not be ruled out at this stage. Most of the jobs will go in the first half of next year. They will cut across all levels of the organisation.


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The business adaptation plan also includes a range of other measures to improve performance at the Colchester factory and to raise standards of customer service across all of Flakt Woods' UK operations, the company says.

The plan has been drawn up in response to changes in the business environment, continued increases in raw material costs, and growing international and domestic competition. It is intended it should be completed during next year.

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Yesterday the company confirmed the contractual arrangements for the company's relocation to a new £25million factory at Cuckoo Farm, Colchester, have been completed. Work has started on the new site and it is hoped operations will start up there in early 2006.

Earlier in the year all 500 jobs at Flakt Woods were under threat as the company considered the costs of relocating in the town too high.

But then a deal was brokered with Colchester Borough Council enabling the company to redevelop its existing factory in Tufnell Way for housing with a lower than usual percentage of social housing including in the development.

Stephen Carr, Fläkt Woods UK Country Manager said: "The combination of the adaptation plan with the subsequent move to the new site are necessary to ensure that the business can continue to compete in the markets served and that Fläkt Woods Limited can maximise the benefits of the new facility to achieve new standards of business performance for the long term future."

Colchester Borough Council's portfolio holder for business, tourism and leisure, Kevin Bentley, expressed his sadness following news of the redundancies.

He will meet with Flakt Woods bosses in the next few days to help the company link up with local support agencies to help staff who are made redundant find alternative employment.

Mr Bentley said: "It is sad news for those who will lose their jobs and the work of Signpost (an organisation which helps people find work) and other similar organisations is vital at a time like this. I will do all that I can to help make sure the company and its employees receive the support they need

during this time.

"Despite this sad news, the company's move to the Cuckoo Farm site and its investment of £25 million in the new development is very welcome and shows Flakt Woods' long term commitment to Colchester."

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