Future of Ipswich metal works employing 85 people in doubt

The metal works is believed to employ 85 people. Picture: GREGG BROWN (stock picture)

The metal works is believed to employ 85 people. Picture: GREGG BROWN (stock picture)

A metal works in Ipswich could be facing closure, putting 85 jobs at risk, according to a union.

Unite the Union says workers at Lebronze Alloys UK, formerly known as Bolton Metals, were told in June that all production at the site would cease and the plant would close – though it is believed to remain operational now.

Talks between union representatives and the company have been ongoing since.

The business has not responded to this newspaper’s requests for a comment.

The site, in Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate was taken over by French conglomerate Lebronze Alloys in 2017.

It produces copper based alloys for industries like aerospace, oil and gas.

Unite the Union say it is also the last remaining UK-based supplier of non-ferrous metals to the Ministry of Defence.

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The full accounts for Lebronze Alloys UK which were signed off on May 28 quoted Covid-19 and Brexit as identified as potential risks.

Neal Evans, representative for Unite the Union, said: “Unite the Union is concerned about the recently announced proposal to close the Lebronze Alloys site in Ipswich with the loss of 85 jobs.

“This raises a number of questions and concerns for the union. Not least, why was the option to furlough the workforce not taken up?

“Whilst this might not have changed the eventual outcome, at least those workers wouldn’t have been putting themselves at risk by working throughout the lockdown.”

Lebronze Alloys UK has been approached for comment but has not responded.

Construction of alloy metals started at the Ipswich site, which has traded under a number of different names in its 82-year history, in 1938.