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Bosch refuses to reverse factory decision

PUBLISHED: 17:35 18 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:35 18 June 2019

Outside of the Bosch factory in Stowmarket where the company has announced lawn mower production is to cease. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Outside of the Bosch factory in Stowmarket where the company has announced lawn mower production is to cease. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

Representatives of the Unite union met with management at Bosch to discuss the impact of its plans to cease lawn mower production at Stowmarket.

It was an attempt to get the employer to re-think its proposals.

Bosch has announced that power tool production on the site will cease from the end of 2019 with the loss up to 140 jobs, and with production moving instead to Hungary.

It has no plans to reverse that decision, it said.

Unite union regional representative Neal Evans was in Stowmarket and met with management to discuss issues including possible re-deployment and training for staff and enhanced redundancy packages for those affected.

Stuart Briscoe, general manager of Bosch Lawn & Garden said: "We had a constructive meeting to discuss the proposed restructure of our garden tools manufacturing capability at Stowmarket with Unite to explain the impact on some of our colleagues.

"It was understood that despite implementing several cost cutting measures and changes and despite having examined possible alternatives we are unable to continue to manufacture at Stowmarket.

"We explained how we would support colleagues affected by the changes, through both financial support, and a full range of special measures including outplacement and re-training.

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"I also confirmed that we are committed to supporting our associates through this difficult time."

Mr Evans said: "There has been a very productive meeting between the employer and the union and we were assured they would do everything in their power to mitigate the impact on colleagues and Stowmarket."

The Stowmarket site currently employs 250 and is also home to research and development in the UK for Bosch Power Tools home and garden products.

Bosch said the manufacturing facility in Stowmarket had faced difficult business conditions for many years from increased competition in the garden tools market.

Re-locating the manufacturing of power tools to Miskolc, Hungary would make it more cost-efficient, it said.

In 1995 Bosch acquired long established Atco-Qualcast Ltd in Stowmarket to gain access to the powered gardening market.

Bosch focussed on the development of electric and subsequently cordless products.

In 2011 the Atco and Suffolk Punch brands were sold by Bosch to Italian-based GGP, now better known in the UK as Stiga/Mountfield.

That manufacturer now makes Atco lawn mower products in Italy, China and Slovakia.

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