Felixstowe: Metering company Itron makes 150 redundant

MANUFACTURING workers are today starting the hunt for new jobs after a major employer decided to move its meter-making assembly line to eastern Europe.

It is understood around 150 people are being made redundant at Itron Metering Solutions UK in Felixstowe as part of a worldwide restructuring of the company’s manufacturing operation.

Itron, the world’s largest supplier of smart meters, said it needed to increase efficiency and cut costs.

Shop floor workers told The Evening Star they had been called to a meeting to be told the company was moving its manufacturing operations abroad. This would be done by March next year.

Research and development operations would remain at the site, leaving around 150 staff.

One worker said: “It is quite a shock – no-one expected this. Some of the people have worked at this factory for a long time, many years, for Itron and previous owners. I don’t know how we will find new jobs.”

American-owned Itron took over the factory in Carr Road about two years ago.

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Last year it spent �2.3 million in improvements to the site – both the manufacturing and research and development sections – and also took over new offices at Brightwell Court, Martlesham Heath, this year because the Felixstowe premises were filled to capacity.

Eager to work with the government on its roll-out of smart meter technology – which enables consumers to see how much energy they are using and enables them to manage and reduce it – and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and MP Alan Whitehead, chairman of the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group, were both shown the investment in the premises.

Managers said they were keen to work with government to achieve the 2016 smart meter roll out target with the Felixstowe factory playing a key role.

No-one was available for comment at Itron at Felixstowe.

A statement by Itron in America announced proposals to save 30 million dollars a year “to restructure its manufacturing operations to increase efficiency and lower manufacturing costs”.

“Under the restructuring, Itron is implementing projects to close or consolidate several of its manufacturing facilities over the next 15 to 18 months,” it said.

“Approximately one-third of the company’s 31 global manufacturing locations will be impacted: six manufacturing facilities will be closed or sold and operations at several other facilities will be reduced.”

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