May 18 2013 Latest news:
By Duncan Brodie
Friday, October 12, 2012
NEARLY 100 jobs are likely to go in Ipswich with the closure of the Gardner Denver air compressor plant in White House Road.
Employees at the business, known as CompAir Reavell until its acquisition by the United States-based Gardner Denver group four years ago, were warned of the possible closure in July when the company launched a consultation process.
They are now understood to have been told that a counter proposal put forward to save the Ipswich plant has been rejected, although the timings of what is expected to be a phased run-down of the site have yet to be revealed.
Derrick Martin, a non-union staff representative on the consultation committee, said that operations currently based in Ipswich were to be transferred to the Gardner Denver site in Redditch, Worcestershire.
He said it was understood there would be opportunities for staff to relocate but he was not aware of anyone who wished to do so, and the 97 people based at the Ipswich site faced redundancy.
The Ipswich operation, which founded in 1898 as Reavell & Co Ltd Engineers by Sir William Reavell, has only been based at the White House Road site since 2005, before which it was located in Ranelagh Road.
Mr Martin said the alternative proposal to retain the Ipswich site, which was operating profitably, had been rejected by the company on the grounds that it would lose £3.5million if it sold the Redditch site as suggested.
“We are one of the last bastions of engineering in Ipswich”, said Mr Martin. “They are losing nearly 1,000 years of combined experience and moving everything to Redditch.
“I have only been here three years but many people have been here nearly all their working lives and will struggle to find work anywhere else. I also feel sorry for the youngsters who have committed themselves to the company,” he added.
Both the Ipswich and Redditch offices of Gardner Denver were contacted but nobody from the company was said to be available for comment.
The Ipswich operation produces high-pressure piston compressors for sectors including industrial air and gas, defence, vehicle refuelling, bottle blowing and breathing air.
Gardner Denver, which traces its history back to 1859, operates in 34 countries and last year generated earnings of US$277.5million on revenue of US$2.37billion.