Jobs to be axed at Crane

ONE of Ipswich's biggest employers has announced plans to axe a series of manufacturing jobs after agreeing an £18 million deal to sell its site.

ONE of Ipswich's biggest employers today announced plans to axe more than 200 manufacturing jobs after agreeing an £18 million deal to sell its site.

Crane will end its manufacturing presence in the town, which involves about 210 of an Ipswich workforce of 288.

The firm, which makes fluid systems for the engineering industry, said it will stop making malleable iron fittings during the second half of next year.

Malleable iron valves and large bronze valves will no longer be made at the Nacton Road site, which it agreed to sell last week.

Production of the valves will move to another Crane site.

Managing director Peter G Wilson said the firm will begin a 90-day consultation with trades unions in the first three months of next year.

Most Read

No compulsory redundancies are expected to be made in this period, he added.

Last week Crane announced the sale of the Nacton Road site and repeatedly refused to confirm its long-term future in Ipswich.

Mr Wilson said today: “Over recent years we have moved certain of our manufacturing processes to lower cost countries and this has helped us to remain competitive in certain of our markets.

“With the sale of the Nacton Road site we now believe that it is appropriate and necessary to further rationalise our manufacturing and regrettably our proposals will mean the closure of a number of activities and a number of redundancies.

“The manufacture of malleable iron fittings will cease during the second half of 2008.

“We will continue to supply our customers with these products from our lower cost sources.

“At the same time production of malleable iron valves will also cease, as will the manufacture of large bronze valves with the manufacturing of both products being transferred to other Crane facilities.

“It is our intention to maintain the manufacture of our Wask [a supplier of specialist fittings and pipeline equipment to the gas and water industries] range of products in the UK but it will be impractical to continue this as a standalone operation.

“In view of this we propose that this product range will be transferred and integrated into our Hitchin facility.

“We hope that a number of people that are employed in this area will accept our offer of transferring with this business to Hitchin.

“Crane Limited will retain its head office in Ipswich which means that finance, IT, engineering, quality, supply chain, sales and customer service will largely be unaffected but will move to new office accommodation as soon as suitable premises become available.”

The firm has two years to find new premises after selling its 43-acre site to a property company.

Crane said it had told trades unions of its plans and offered to meet their representatives in the New Year.

Last week Ian Marshall, regional officer for the Amicus section of Unite, which represents more than 100 employees at the site, vowed to fight to keep jobs in Ipswich.