Jobs bombshell over factory closure

NEARLY 100 jobs look certain to go at an Ipswich-based boiler manufacturer after its parent company announced a major restructure, it emerged today.Boulter Buderus, which is based in Whitehouse Road, is due to close at the end of next year.

NEARLY 100 jobs look certain to go at an Ipswich-based boiler manufacturer after its parent company announced a major restructure, it emerged today.

Boulter Buderus, which is based in Whitehouse Road, is due to close at the end of next year.

The Bosch Group, which operates Boulter Buderus, has confirmed its plans for the closure but says negotiations with staff are in their "early stages" so the exact number of job losses is not yet known.

The company currently employs 96 people in Ipswich and it said the cuts will be phased and attempts will be made to relocate workers to other plants.

The Boulter Buderus branch and products will continue but production will no longer take place in Ipswich.

The move is aimed at consolidating operations into sites at Warndon, in Worcestershire, and Clay Cross, in Derbyshire.

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Workers arriving at the Ipswich factory today said they had been told not to comment on the proposed closure.

Boulter Buderus is one of the UK's leading oil-fired boiler manufacturers. It claims the changes are an attempt to improve its services and product range for customers.

In 2002 the company, formerly Boulter Boilers, was taken over by Buderus Heitztechnic but the workforce was unchanged. It was then bought by the Bosch Group in 2003.

Paul Moult, spokesman for Boulter Buderus, said: "To improve service to customers and provide opportunities for expansion, Boulter Buderus Limited, which markets the Boulter Buderus brand, has announced that it will be transferring all customer handling from its operation at Ipswich to the central UK facility at Warndon, Worcestershire, which is also the headquarters of Worcester Heat Systems Ltd. All manufacturing will be transferred to an existing location at Clay Cross, Derbyshire.

"The transfer of the operations from Ipswich will result in an enhanced service to customers, strengthening the company's position in the UK.

"It is anticipated that the transfer will be complete by the end of 2005 and regrettably this move will lead to a reduction in personnel at Boulter Buderus Ltd. However, consultation with employee groups, as well as individuals, is well under way and every effort is being made to find opportunities for re-deployment for those affected within the group."

Mr Moult said the company was working with Ipswich employees to identify how many job cuts would result from the decisions.

Chris Yates, the managing director of the Ipswich operation, refused to comment when approached by the Star.

It is expected some Ipswich employees will be offered relocation to the Warndon and Clay Cross sites.

Will you be affected by the job losses? Telephone The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324789 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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