Closure of Carron Phoenix factory to cost hundreds of jobs

Around 200 jobs are to go at the Carron Phoenix sink plant in Falkirk, Scotland, after Swiss owner Franke announced it will be closing the historic factory to “centralise its production” in a new facility in Slovakia.

The company said the “increased capacity and efficiency will enable us to provide a far greater flexibility, responsiveness and choice for customers”.

It also promised its customers “a smooth continuity of service” following the changes, despite the cease in manufacturing at the factory.

The company blamed the closure on “intense pressure from other international manufacturers”. It also said it hoped none of its 211 workers in its Falkirk factory would have to be made redundant before 2017.

Carron Phoenix will close in stages as production is gradually moved over to Slovakia. Franke stated that 15 warehousing jobs would be retained as it creates a new logistics base in Falkirk.

Franke operations director Bart Doornkamp said: “Regrettably we have been left with no choice but to close our three existing facilities in Falkirk, Brunssum in Holland and Zilina in Slovakia, and centralise our production on a more efficient, purpose-built greenfield site in Slovakia, which will open in spring 2017.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We examined in great detail the option of upgrading the Falkirk plant, but the high level of investment that would have been required made the business case simply unsustainable.

“Consultation with the trade unions is a priority to ensure that we undertake an orderly, phased closure of the plant by December 2017.”

Carron Phoenix has more than 250 years of industrial history. Founded in 1759, it was the largest ironworks in Europe and employed thousands of people.

It was originally known as Roebuck, Garbett and Cade after the three men who founded it. Its history includes mass-production of the James Watt’s steam engines during the 18th century.

It was most famous for producing cannons for the Royal Navy and was the favoured cannon of the Duke of Wellington. It also manufactured ammunition for the British forces.

It later found fame again as the maker of Britain’s iconic red telephone boxes. The original firm fell into receivership in 1982 and was bought out by management before being sold to Franke in 1990.

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