141 jobs to go as Wolverhampton manufacturing giant shuts plant

A manufacturing plant near Wolverhampton is set to close down with the loss of 141 jobs, it was revealed today.

SANDVIK 3 SL 24
Sandvik's site today

Shocked workers at Sandvik Machining Solutions in Featherstone were called to an early morning meeting today and told the base is expected to shut by the end of the year. All workers at the site in Cat and Kittens Lane are affected and a programme of consultation has begun. The firm makes cutting edges for tools and machines, but bosses say they need to cut back on production and costs.

A worker, who did not wish to be named, said as he left the site this morning: “There have been rumours for some time about job losses, but it has come as a shock to everyone.

“We were called into a meeting at 6.45am and told the news. It’s a big blow to everyone. There is going to be a period of consultation but we are looking at job losses by the end of August with the business closing at the end of the year.”

A second worker, who has been with the company for five years, said: “There were a lot of shocked and upset faces this morning. Sandvik employs 141 people here including myself and we will all be affected. The company has a global strategy and this is not a reflection on the workers.”

The Featherstone factory has the smallest production volume of any of its European plants.

A statement from the firm read: “The company very much regrets the need for this action and has begun discussions with the Unite union which represents many of the workers.”

Sandvik’s inserts global production director Richard Harris said: “Our biggest focus is to support employees facing redundancy in finding alternative employment.”

Mr Harris, who is based in Sweden but was at the Featherstone site from 2002 to 2009, said: “The proposal is to ramp down production from June to August.”

He added that it was likely that the site would be sold off once production ended.

The Featherstone plant was originally built in 1932 as a Royal Ordnance Factory and was bought by Sandvik in 1981.

Today’s announcement does not affect the company’s base in Manor Way in Halesowen or its Hard Materials site in Coventry.

Sandvik Machining Solutions produces a range of tools and tooling systems for metal cutting. It has been established in the UK since 1914 and has about 1,500 employees working in 15 different businesses.