Deeside based Witter towbars will make 86 people redundant on New Year’s Eve.
The company has shown a complete disregard for its hardworking staff, a politician has declared.
Carl Sargeant, Alyn and Deeside AM, has been doing all he can to support workers at Witter Towbars on Deeside Industrial Park since a consultation into ending manufacturing on the site was announced by parent firm Horizon Global in August.
Horizon Global today announced manufacturing at Deeside will end and be transferred to Romania.
“This news is a devastating blow for Deeside,” said Mr Sargeant.
In ending manufacturing on Deeside the company is showing a complete disregard for its hard working staff.
Unite campaigned hard to save these jobs but at the end of the day, Horizon had already set their sights on the increase in profits as a result of the savings on labour costs, by transferring the work over to Romania.
There are social and economic consequences of this decision today.
The employees and their families are devastated, as you would expect. It is ironic that one of Horizon Global’s core values is to be ‘Socially Responsible’.
Decent, skilled jobs are being lost and this is a betrayal of the Witter’s employees who have worked hard to make this site and the Witter brand a success over the last 50 years.
The loss of 86 highly-skilled jobs affects not just 86 individuals but 86 families, which has an extremely damaging effect on a community.”
Mr Sargeant had liaised with Unite the Union and Economy Secretary Ken Skates throughout the consultation process.
Mr Sargeant sought Mr Skates’s support and the Economy Secretary met with the firm and sent in consultants to
help them look at alternative ways of reducing costs while keeping manufacturing at Deeside.
Mr Sargeant also wrote to one of the firm’s main clients Jaguar Landrover in the hope that the company’s emphasis on British manufacturing would lead it to have some persuasive input to help persuade Horizon to reverse its plans.
He added: “Horizon Global were very slow to take up offers of support from the Welsh Government and Flintshire County Council.
It does feel like the consultation was just an exercise and they had made their minds up all along.
“Economy Secretary Ken Skates has already pledged to activate the Welsh Government Re-Act programme.
The programme will help these capable workers link up with other firms nearby where skilled opportunities may be available.
It will also provide retraining if needed.
“Nevertheless the consequences this announcement will have on people’s lives cannot be
underestimated and closing on December 31 seems particularly insensitive.”
Witter Towbars was founded in 1950 by the late Colin Witter operating from a converted cottage in Chester.
Witter saw an opportunity to meet the growing demand for easy to fit towing brackets for caravan and trailer owners who benefited from the increased leisure time in post-war Britain
Within ten years the company had outgrown its premises and moved to industrial buildings on the canal side within Chester.
In 1997 the company moved to its current HQ on Deeside Industrial Park.
The move allowed for a big expansion of the factory so to towbars could be manufactured on a larger scale and more efficiently.
The company which is now owned by Horizon Global European Holdings Limited employs 124 people.