80 workers face the axe at Sunderland engineering firm

ABB - Hanover Place, Deptford, Sunderland.

ABB - Hanover Place, Deptford, Sunderland.

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BOSSES have confirmed more than 80 jobs are under threat at a city engineering firm.

The Echo reported this week that fears were growing for the future of 82 workers at ABB’s premises in Havelock Place, Deptford.

Now the firm has confirmed it is in talks with staff over the proposed changes, though a spokeswoman emphasised nothing was set in stone.

“ABB has announced a proposal to restructure its Low Voltage Systems business in Sunderland, which could impact up to 82 positions out of a total number of 103 across all areas of the business,” said a company statement.

“This proposal is in keeping with ABB’s strategy of aligning manufacturing with market price and centralising manufacturing operations where it is practical and efficient to do so.

“Key technical and business functions, including sales and marketing, project management, engineering support activities, service/after sales support would remain based at the Sunderland facility. Therefore, we anticipate around 20 positions would remain in Sunderland under the proposed restructure.

“The company will do its best to support employees in every possible way during this very difficult time.

“The UK still remains a very important market for ABB, and we are committed to working in all sectors with the full range of our products and technology in helping our customers improve their performance while lowering environmental impact.”

One staff member, who did not wish to be named, said: “We have all been given a 30-day consultation period. We will be told by January 3 if we are going.

“We are losing all the shopfloor, three-quarters of the company. They are just keeping the sales side here, all the engineers in the workforce are being paid off.”

Union representatives are due to met with management today.

The news is a further jobs blow for Wearside, coming after last week’s announcement that npower is panning to ship more than 400 jobs from its Rainton Bridge call centre to India.