Dozens of jobs face axe at North East cable firm
More than 200 jobs are under threat at a North East manufacturing company.
AEI Cables is to start a 45-day formal consultation with staff next week - and has not ruled out complete closure of its Birtley factory.
A spokesman said: "The company has been making significant financial losses for a long period of time and only continues to function with the financial support and guarantees of its parent company.
"The company believes that profitability is possible only with a fundamental restructuring and a marked improvement in productivity."
The firm says it is too early to predict how many jobs may go and it cannot not rule out closure of the site in the worst scenario.
The company - which employs 240 people - says it will consider all proposals for avoiding the redundancies and reducing the numbers affected, including sale of the business as a going concern.
It has assured customers all orders will be fulfilled for now and the foreseeable future.
it is the second time in little more than two years the site has been under threat. The firm was taken over by a Middle East-based cable firm Ducab in March 2014
GMB spokesman Tom Allison said the union would be doing everything it could to support its members.
"The company has cited its financial situation as the reason for this decision and yesterday invited all employees to serve notice of the 45-day consultation." he said.
"We will be involved in negotiations on behalf of staff."
The union was unhappy with the company's decision to go straight to formal consultation.
"There are concerns about the manner in which this was conducted," said Mr Allison.
"We only have 45 days now to try to secure investment in the site. We would have expected the company to try to contact us to reach some conclusion, rather than go to the final procedure.
"Consultation used to be 90 days for redundanciues of this sixe, but the coalition govenment cut it to 45 days."