A Sunderland engineering firm has announced plans to cut almost a third of its workforce.
Pump manufacturer Grundfos is in talks with staff representatives over plans to axe up to 50 jobs as part of a Europe-wide restructuring.
We are currently in the consultation process with employee unions and representatives.
The firm employs 165 people at its Castletown plant.
The cuts are expected to come into effect between September this year and April 2018.
General manager Mark Lister confirmed the firm had started talks with employees, but emphasised the cuts were part of a Europe-wide restructuring operation which also covered the company’s sites in Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland.
“We are currently in the consultation process with employee unions and representatives,” he said.
“We have been sitting down for the last couple of weeks with the workers and their representatives and hopefully, we can get those discussions to a conclusion in the next few weeks.
Management were hopeful of minimising the impact of the cuts, especially in terms of any compulsory redundancies, and would be looking to shed as many posts as possible through voluntary redundancies and natural wastage.
“We are discussing how to reduce that and improve our position or how best to go through the process, if a decision is taken,” said Mr Lister.
“We will start with a voluntary process, so we can make the most of those cases.”
Nothing was set in stone, he added: “I have to stress it is just a proposal at this point while we go though consultation.
“We will continue to talk about the proposals until they are confirmed.
“What I can say is we will be focussed on ensuring whoever has to leave the business is supported the best we can.”
It was not possible to discus any individuals who might be affected by the plans: “At this point, we cannot talk about any of the proposals until they are confirmed through the consultation,” said Mr Lister.
The restructuring was intended to safeguard the long-term future of the business: “We have to make sure we are stronger going forward.
“It is tough times but we will get through it.”
Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer, employs more than 18,000 people worldwide.
It opened its Wearside plant in 1973.