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Alton Towers to axe 190 jobs in the wake of Smiler crash

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Alton Towers this afternoon revealed plans to shed 190 jobs in the wake of a 'very difficult year' which saw visitor numbers plunge in the wake of the Smiler crash.

The Staffordshire theme park said its plans, to be completed in time for the new season in March, would mean vacancies would not be filled, while some jobs would go through voluntary redundancy, early retirement and redeployment.

The news comes five months after a crash on the park's Smiler ride left five people seriously injured.

The theme park was closed for four days as a result of the crash on June 2.

In September, operator Merlin announced that visitors numbers had been 'significantly' lower since the incident.

Like-for-like revenues for Merlin, which also owns Thorpe Park, tumbled by 11.4 per cent across its theme park division for the first nine months of 2015.

A statement from the business said today: "Alton Towers Resort is operating in the very dynamic and competitive leisure industry which is seeing increasingly rapid change, primarily fuelled by new technologies and ever higher visitor expectations.

"The business therefore needs a modern, flexible structure which reflects this requirement for a reactive and customer focused approach. The review also looked at the impact on the business of the devastating incident on 'The Smiler' ride in June, which resulted in reduced visitation, particularly over the key summer months."

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"Regretfully however, it may result in the loss of up to 190 salaried jobs across the Resort. We anticipate some of these will be accounted for by a programme of non-replacement of existing vacancies, early retirement, redeployment elsewhere in the group, and voluntary redundancy. As soon as employee representatives have been appointed a consultation period will begin.

Emergency services work at the scene of the crash, picture: West Midlands Ambulance Service

The statement went on: "We appreciate the contribution our employees have made to the business and just how distressing this will be for everyone.

"Alton Towers will work closely with all those affected in order to support them through the consultation process and any subsequent requirement for alternative employment and job search activities. This includes an extension of its Employee Assistance Programme which will offer immediate phone support to all employees as well as follow-up practical aid and counselling.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make and it has not been taken lightly or easily. However, we believe that this reorganisation now, together with a continuous programme of capital investment, will not only ensure the Resort's long term growth, which is so vital to the local economy, but also protect the jobs of the bulk of its employees for the future."

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