WORKERS at a company that is a world leader in the manufacture of gas supply fittings were stunned to be told it is moving out of St Helens with the loss of 216 jobs.
Shift workers at Crane Building Services & Utilities admitted they were shocked after being told the news at a meeting on Tuesday morning in the canteen at the Delta Road works in Parr.
The company which supplies gas distribution fittings, pipeline equipment and valves intends to exercise a lease break option which would result in the manufacturing operation exiting the site by March 31, 2015.
A spokesman said: “Consultation with the 216 strong workforce has commenced and the company’s proposals, which include redundancy, will be discussed over forthcoming weeks.
“The St Helens site is an ageing facility with significant investment required to operate efficiently and to bring it up to world class manufacturing standards. The Company owns other facilities in the UK which all have significant capacity for expansion and the Company confirmed it would continue to invest into these facilities to sustain its world class manufacturing processes.”
An employee with 10 years service, and who had twice been made redundant from previous jobs, told the Star: “We’re all devastated. People were crying. This came completely out of the blue. We are really busy, with loads of work on. This affects men and women from people in their 20s to others with 40 or so years service.
“The roof of the works is in dire straits but we understand the owner of the building is willing to do all necessary repairs if Crane sign a long term lease.”
Crane acquired the Parr business 2008. Its WASK and Sperryn gas controls are market leaders.
Eddie Parker, GMB organiser based at Warrington, said: “My personal view is that this decision is based on the industrial action which took place last year on pay, terms and conditions of employment where consequences of closure were identified at the time.”