47 workers have left Witter Towbars today as staged redundancy programme begins
47 employees at Witter Towbars have left the company today as the axe begins to fall on its manufacturing operation in Deeside.
Another 13 production staff will leave just before Christmas the remainder of production staff will be on site until March 2018.
Witter is moving operations to Romania due to lower production costs with the loss of around 90 jobs.
Jo Goodchild Regional Officer Unite the Union Wales, said;
“A sad day today as the first group of staff leave Witter Towbars, some of whom have been there over 30 years.
Horizon Global gave us notice two weeks ago that they had decided to issue the redundancies on a staged basis , 47 employees have left today with another 13 to go just before Christmas.
The remainder of production staff will be on site until March 2018.
The dignity and solidarity the employees have shown in the last 3 turbulent months has been phenomenal. We are hopeful that their valuable skills and experience will not be wasted, some have actually secured alternative employment already.”
The company which is owned by US-based Horizon Global had been accused of showing ‘complete disregard’ for its staff by Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant.
Witter was offered Welsh Government support during a 90-day consultation with employees but it was widely felt a decision had already been taken at a management level to axe its Deeside workforce and farm production out.
Unite had previously said;
“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.”
Carl Sargeant AM said;
“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.”
The Alyn and Deeside AM 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, sadly it didn’t.
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.
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