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GE to shed 500 jobs and close factory in Stafford

By John Corser | Stafford | Business | Published:

Around 500 jobs are to go at General Electric's power division operation in Stafford.

A transformer being moved at the GE Power factory which was bought from Alstom

Around 500 jobs are to go at General Electric’s power division operation in Stafford.

The company is closing one of four factories at its Lichfield Road site, it was revealed to staff this morning.

GE needs to save £750 billion around the world next year, blaming a fall in demand for new power stations and lack of investment for the cost-cutting drive.

The proposal is to close the Power Services factory at Lichfield Road and the Leicester Road Power Conversion site in Rugby and transfer some of the activities to other GE Power sites.

But bosses said the former Alstom operation in Stafford would remain one of the top 10 sites for the firm in the UK, still employing more than 800 people.

The announcement comes just 10 months after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond visited GE’s new plant at Redhill Business Park in the town.

Chancellor Philip Hammond at General Electric's latest factory in Stafford

Mark Elborne, president and chief executive GE UK and Ireland, said: “Regrettably, the proposed changes would have an impact on jobs in the UK. These are not proposals we ever make lightly and we understand that this news will be difficult for many people.

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“We believe that these changes are necessary to ensure that we can remain competitive and secure the future of GE Power in the UK.

“We have shared our proposals with employees’ representatives and will now begin a consultation period before any final decisions are made.”

The loss of around 1,100 positions across all parts of the UK GE Power business, including Power Digital and Global Operations, represents about six per cent of the total GE workforce of 18,000 on 65 sites in the UK.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said: “This is devastating news, particularly as many of the UK GE jobs are based in Stafford.

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“We will be working with the LEP, borough council and other partners to ensure we are doing all we can to support anyone affected.

“We do not know the detail yet, other than this is part of a global strategy by the company and does not just affect the UK.

“GE has reaffirmed its commitment to the UK and of course has recently completed its second new facility at Redhill Business Park. We believe as such it will continue to be one of our flagship companies.

“In Staffordshire we have built up a reputation as a county where we are focusing on the creation of highly skilled jobs with engineering as one of our key sectors.

"We will now ensure anyone affected by job losses can make the most of opportunities that exist and are being created elsewhere.”

GE bought Alstom’s power and grid business, including the Stafford operation, in November 2015.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star business reporter at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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