Building materials suppliers Hanson UK are proposing to close a kiln at their Castle Cement works in Ketton, mothball the Accrington brick factory and close their Swillington plant. The company has entered a period of consultation with all those workers affected.
Some 35 people at Ketton are at risk, while the mothballing of Accrington will cost up to 80 jobs. The factory will continue with a skelton staff.
The closures are down to the near collapse of the housebuilding market, Hanson spokesman David Weeks told buildersmerchantsjournal.net. “We are a demand-led business. If we have no-one buying our products then we cannot go on making them and still remain a viable business.”
The company will also be cutting shifts at other work sites.
“Demand for cement has fallen 20%. Brick sales have dropped between 30 and 40% in 18 months,” Weeks continued.
There is a fine line between doing what is vital for the survival of the business in the short-term and ensuring that the company can react when the market picks up again, Weeks said. “We know it will return, the problem is that we don’t know when and even the best industry commentators can’t predict when the pick-up will begin.”
Hanson are investing in a new state-of-the-art brick plant at Measham in Leicestershire which will be the most advanced in Europe when it is complete and will, Weeks says, enable them to meet market demand when it reappears.
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