MORE than 120 workers at a factory have been made redundant without warning.
AEI Cables, near Chester-le-Street, axed more than a third of its workforce – and union bosses say the taxpayer will be left to foot the bill.
The firm confirmed news of the job cuts in a statement, and blamed the Government’s cost-cutting for the move:
“AEI announced to its workforce today that, with regret, it was restructuring the business due to the reduction in volumes caused by cut backs in public sector spending. Increased competition from low priced low quality imports has also played its part.
“Some 126 employees are to be made redundant but over 200 jobs are to be preserved as the company concentrates its efforts in industrial cables, which includes the high specification cables required for the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier currently being built.”
GMB representative Mickey Hopper said the union was considering legal action over the firm’s failure to consult on the cuts.
“We met with the company on Thursday and they gave us information about what was happening and where the business was,” he said.
“We put a number of questions forward on the selection process. We met them again on Friday, when they gave us the figure of 126 staff to be made redundant.
“People have been taken in and told whether they still have a job or not. They were just told ‘in’ or ‘out.’
“There has not been any consultation with the trade union and we have not had any input into the selection process. It has been done solely by management.
“We intend to seek legal advice about pressing a claim for their failure to consult.”
The company was hoping to reach a deal with creditors.
“They are hoping to cut the jobs now to protect the 200 that will be left, then they will have to meet with their creditors and they are hoping the creditors will give permission for a stay,” said Mr Hopper.