UPDATED: Pilkington to axe 150 St Helens jobs

ST HELENS shuddered from another economic body blow today after it was announced Pilkington is shedding 150 jobs in a move that will see one of its local float lines mothballed and production ceased at its solar glass cutting operation.

The glassmaker’s parent firm, Nippon Sheet Glass Group, intends stopping manufacturing on the UK6 Float line at the Greengate site and the solar cutting operation at the Cowley Hill site by the end of April 2012.

A lower than expected demand for solar power products in export markets is at the root of the glass giant’s decision, while UK6 is being mothballed a year sooner than had been scheduled.

David Pinder, managing director Pilkington’s Building UK, told the Star the news would not affect construction of a new £33m glass facility at Cowley Hill – which is supported by £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The line, with a more efficient production method, will enable Pilks to make glass which is more competitive within the UK and European market, is set to create more than 260 positions.

However, many of those roles are expected to be filled from within the existing workforce.

Mr Pinder suggested the amount of jobs being shed at Cowley Hill, where about 100 workers on the solar panel cutting operation are on temporary contracts, would have been “a lot worse” had it not been for the investment in the new site, which was confirmed when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visited St Helens in December.

A NSG statement read: “This will result in a reduction of 150 roles across the two sites, both based in St Helens. Management and trade unions will start consultation on how to achieve this reduction.

“The Group has experienced a reduction in many of its core markets, including the European building products market.

“The global market for solar energy glass has also worsened significantly during the third quarter.

“While the longer-term prospects for these markets remain positive, the Group does not expect to see an early recovery within the next financial year.

“Local trade unions have been briefed today and a series of employee briefings, planned.”

Speaking to the Star during his visit to St Helens in December, Clegg said: “We can’t carry on in the North West hoping that we are going to get more handouts from Whitehall to create jobs that are here today, gone tomorrow.

“We need private sector jobs in factories like this, which last for years.”

Pilks employs more than 1,000 people in St Helens.

Further reaction to follow

Comments (27)

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6:40pm Thu 2 Feb 12

frankly says...

hard to think about, but not too many decades ago this town was the main employers foe the glass and mining industries..shame, but some faults must be thrown at workers greedsw that forced cheaper products from other countries. industry like those have gone forever
hard to think about, but not too many decades ago this town was the main employers foe the glass and mining industries..shame, but some faults must be thrown at workers greedsw that forced cheaper products from other countries. industry like those have gone forever frankly

7:25pm Thu 2 Feb 12

Parrcenter says...

The solar plant workers are all new and cannot be labelled as greedy, your comments are tactless as well as ignorant
The solar plant workers are all new and cannot be labelled as greedy, your comments are tactless as well as ignorant Parrcenter

7:38pm Thu 2 Feb 12

domjom says...

frankly wrote:
hard to think about, but not too many decades ago this town was the main employers foe the glass and mining industries..shame, but some faults must be thrown at workers greedsw that forced cheaper products from other countries. industry like those have gone forever
greedy? please explain how you have come to this conclusion its just ignorant to assume that greed is the root of the problem. you tell the men who will no longer have a job that its because of workers greed
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: hard to think about, but not too many decades ago this town was the main employers foe the glass and mining industries..shame, but some faults must be thrown at workers greedsw that forced cheaper products from other countries. industry like those have gone forever[/p][/quote]greedy? please explain how you have come to this conclusion its just ignorant to assume that greed is the root of the problem. you tell the men who will no longer have a job that its because of workers greed domjom

8:20am Fri 3 Feb 12

frankly says...

i am, talking about how greed in the past led eventually to job losses in this country, not suggesting that todays workersw have been greedy, they are now catching the fallout from what started a few decades ago...I WORKED AT A LARGE GLASS FACTORY WHERE TWO MEN/WOMEN did one job, so DONT tell me , cos i know, been there, got the t/shirt
i am, talking about how greed in the past led eventually to job losses in this country, not suggesting that todays workersw have been greedy, they are now catching the fallout from what started a few decades ago...I WORKED AT A LARGE GLASS FACTORY WHERE TWO MEN/WOMEN did one job, so DONT tell me , cos i know, been there, got the t/shirt frankly

9:37am Fri 3 Feb 12

Parrcenter says...

Thanks for that, frankly,
Now we know you was one of the'greedy ' ones
Thanks for that, frankly, Now we know you was one of the'greedy ' ones Parrcenter

10:04am Fri 3 Feb 12

frankly says...

not at all parcenter.my staff job, was, one person doing more than one job, BUT i still lost my job like many others did. And previous i was a shop steward, so saw both sides of the coin.
not at all parcenter.my staff job, was, one person doing more than one job, BUT i still lost my job like many others did. And previous i was a shop steward, so saw both sides of the coin. frankly

10:49am Fri 3 Feb 12

domjom says...

frankly wrote:
i am, talking about how greed in the past led eventually to job losses in this country, not suggesting that todays workersw have been greedy, they are now catching the fallout from what started a few decades ago...I WORKED AT A LARGE GLASS FACTORY WHERE TWO MEN/WOMEN did one job, so DONT tell me , cos i know, been there, got the t/shirt
perhaps then you should have made it clear from the start how you meant but still you should be aware if you have been there got the t shirt etc that for the families that this will affect implying workers greed has had an effect even if you meant all the way back then is not nice
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: i am, talking about how greed in the past led eventually to job losses in this country, not suggesting that todays workersw have been greedy, they are now catching the fallout from what started a few decades ago...I WORKED AT A LARGE GLASS FACTORY WHERE TWO MEN/WOMEN did one job, so DONT tell me , cos i know, been there, got the t/shirt[/p][/quote]perhaps then you should have made it clear from the start how you meant but still you should be aware if you have been there got the t shirt etc that for the families that this will affect implying workers greed has had an effect even if you meant all the way back then is not nice domjom

2:31pm Fri 3 Feb 12

frankly says...

Sorry Dom...maybe i should have been more precise
Sorry Dom...maybe i should have been more precise frankly

8:03pm Fri 3 Feb 12

papyt says...

i think you have a chip on your shoulder regarding loosing your job frankly,you have had a go at me for being self employed and having a descent living on these pages now you are saying that workers who wanted a pay rise are greedy and should have been gratefull for what they had ,what trade union did you represent because with that attitude i bet your fellow workers were glad to see the back of you,and on another note were is the leader of the council on this,we normally see her photo and a comment to boot.
i think you have a chip on your shoulder regarding loosing your job frankly,you have had a go at me for being self employed and having a descent living on these pages now you are saying that workers who wanted a pay rise are greedy and should have been gratefull for what they had ,what trade union did you represent because with that attitude i bet your fellow workers were glad to see the back of you,and on another note were is the leader of the council on this,we normally see her photo and a comment to boot. papyt

8:32am Sat 4 Feb 12

Bill Bradbury says...

It is not a matter of whose fault it is the story is the loss of a family's breadwinner through no fault of their own.

The simple fault is that if nobody wants to buy, Pilkingtons is unable to sell. Put it down to the wordwide economic situation but that's no comfort for those who are going to lose their job.
It is not a matter of whose fault it is the story is the loss of a family's breadwinner through no fault of their own. The simple fault is that if nobody wants to buy, Pilkingtons is unable to sell. Put it down to the wordwide economic situation but that's no comfort for those who are going to lose their job. Bill Bradbury

9:57am Sat 4 Feb 12

frankly says...

papyt, no i didnt have a chip on my shoulder, BECAUSE I SOON GOT ANOTHER JOB, but it was a job i enjoyed, and because greed by some workers and thatchers policies that i lost the job i enjoyed the most....I DID SAY i worked for 50 plus years by the way. Also, the union shop stewards job, i only left when i move3d on..in those jobs, you have to see BOTH sides not just the members at times, but you will know all about unions wont you..Are YOUR workers in one, or do they still doff their caps
papyt, no i didnt have a chip on my shoulder, BECAUSE I SOON GOT ANOTHER JOB, but it was a job i enjoyed, and because greed by some workers and thatchers policies that i lost the job i enjoyed the most....I DID SAY i worked for 50 plus years by the way. Also, the union shop stewards job, i only left when i move3d on..in those jobs, you have to see BOTH sides not just the members at times, but you will know all about unions wont you..Are YOUR workers in one, or do they still doff their caps frankly

11:19am Sat 4 Feb 12

Sankey says...

As I understand it Pilks are moving a lot of production abroad on cost grounds. One of the difficulties British industry faces is green carbon targets which is throttling the life out of our manufacturing. Yesterday was a good day for the UK with the departure from cabinet of Chris Hulme. His replacement Ed Davey is not deranged green fanatic like Hulme and we may get back to sensible polices and scraps these ridiculous green carbon targets no other country implements.
As I understand it Pilks are moving a lot of production abroad on cost grounds. One of the difficulties British industry faces is green carbon targets which is throttling the life out of our manufacturing. Yesterday was a good day for the UK with the departure from cabinet of Chris Hulme. His replacement Ed Davey is not deranged green fanatic like Hulme and we may get back to sensible polices and scraps these ridiculous green carbon targets no other country implements. Sankey

12:37pm Sat 4 Feb 12

papyt says...

i wonder how many of the new houses being built in ST HELENS actually have glass made in this country or for that matter the replacement pvc installations,in FRANCE it is law that if a product can be sourced by a french manufacturer it must be used,same with all government vehicles by police ambulance fire service even the president has to buy a french made vehicle unlike this country were they buy from anywhere isn't it about time we started to play by the same rules as them instead of boosting other government's coffers with imports.
i wonder how many of the new houses being built in ST HELENS actually have glass made in this country or for that matter the replacement pvc installations,in FRANCE it is law that if a product can be sourced by a french manufacturer it must be used,same with all government vehicles by police ambulance fire service even the president has to buy a french made vehicle unlike this country were they buy from anywhere isn't it about time we started to play by the same rules as them instead of boosting other government's coffers with imports. papyt

12:47pm Sat 4 Feb 12

Bill Bradbury says...

papyt for once we are agreed.

I always thought the "Buy British" in response to the British Leyland crisis in the 60's was a good idea. Problem was by that time we were beginning to see how many imports there were with few labels with a "Made in Britain" stamp. That's when the rot started to set in.
papyt for once we are agreed. I always thought the "Buy British" in response to the British Leyland crisis in the 60's was a good idea. Problem was by that time we were beginning to see how many imports there were with few labels with a "Made in Britain" stamp. That's when the rot started to set in. Bill Bradbury

2:24pm Sat 4 Feb 12

Sankey says...

The buy British campaign in the 60’s / 70’s was a bit flawed as British products were in the main very poor back then not the case now. Although I don’t disagree with the concept of buy British just need to be careful we don’t have trade wars which lead to the depression of the thirties. Paypt not doubting the French law but I wonder how that fits in with the concept of free trade within the EU or maybe that is just the French paying lip service while we stick to the rules. Germany by the way has almost no unemployment (5%) why ? because they make things people want to buy and their economy is based on medium sized manufacturing industry. Ours is based on borrowing, funny money and selling pizzas to one another.
The buy British campaign in the 60’s / 70’s was a bit flawed as British products were in the main very poor back then not the case now. Although I don’t disagree with the concept of buy British just need to be careful we don’t have trade wars which lead to the depression of the thirties. Paypt not doubting the French law but I wonder how that fits in with the concept of free trade within the EU or maybe that is just the French paying lip service while we stick to the rules. Germany by the way has almost no unemployment (5%) why ? because they make things people want to buy and their economy is based on medium sized manufacturing industry. Ours is based on borrowing, funny money and selling pizzas to one another. Sankey

8:04am Sun 5 Feb 12

Not Bothered says...

frankly wrote:
not at all parcenter.my staff job, was, one person doing more than one job, BUT i still lost my job like many others did. And previous i was a shop steward, so saw both sides of the coin.
Obviously in the days of us and them when the pen pushers had better terms and conditions than the people who did the work, I worked in company where staff people like you sat in a warm office enjoying the free tea and coffee and full sick pay when the people on the shop floor received non of these benefits, I suppose when we eventually acquired the same benefits we were being greedy.
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: not at all parcenter.my staff job, was, one person doing more than one job, BUT i still lost my job like many others did. And previous i was a shop steward, so saw both sides of the coin.[/p][/quote]Obviously in the days of us and them when the pen pushers had better terms and conditions than the people who did the work, I worked in company where staff people like you sat in a warm office enjoying the free tea and coffee and full sick pay when the people on the shop floor received non of these benefits, I suppose when we eventually acquired the same benefits we were being greedy. Not Bothered

9:52am Sun 5 Feb 12

frankly says...

n/b. i to worked on the shop floor grafting the same as others, then with experience gained on the job i was promoted to a staff job, would you have refused?
n/b. i to worked on the shop floor grafting the same as others, then with experience gained on the job i was promoted to a staff job, would you have refused? frankly

10:29am Sun 5 Feb 12

Not Bothered says...

frankly wrote:
n/b. i to worked on the shop floor grafting the same as others, then with experience gained on the job i was promoted to a staff job, would you have refused?
Nothing unusual for a Shop Steward to be offered a staff job, usually reward for selling his workmates down the river, happened many times in Industry.
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: n/b. i to worked on the shop floor grafting the same as others, then with experience gained on the job i was promoted to a staff job, would you have refused?[/p][/quote]Nothing unusual for a Shop Steward to be offered a staff job, usually reward for selling his workmates down the river, happened many times in Industry. Not Bothered

11:43am Sun 5 Feb 12

papyt says...

SANKEY the FRENCH and GERMANS pay no notice of what they are supposed to do it is only this country that sticks to the rules a lot of the industry in both of those countries is government backed and gets subsidies to be able to sell at cheaper rates,if we have a regional mayor i hope they start with a by-law to make anyone tendering for work paid for by the authority has to use local labour and locally sourced goods
SANKEY the FRENCH and GERMANS pay no notice of what they are supposed to do it is only this country that sticks to the rules a lot of the industry in both of those countries is government backed and gets subsidies to be able to sell at cheaper rates,if we have a regional mayor i hope they start with a by-law to make anyone tendering for work paid for by the authority has to use local labour and locally sourced goods papyt

11:53am Sun 5 Feb 12

Sankey says...

A trip down memory lane to 1972 us and them the grafters on the shop floor lazy devils in them offices supping cups of tea. It’s not his job to fit that guard back on that machine right all out lads!! Pan to 2012 everything is manufactured overseas I wonder why? I see in the Star the majority of the people being laid off are young people I feel so sorry for them. This country has been screwed by the older now retired generation who have spent the money and pillaged industry. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of pain to put right the damage.
A trip down memory lane to 1972 us and them the grafters on the shop floor lazy devils in them offices supping cups of tea. It’s not his job to fit that guard back on that machine right all out lads!! Pan to 2012 everything is manufactured overseas I wonder why? I see in the Star the majority of the people being laid off are young people I feel so sorry for them. This country has been screwed by the older now retired generation who have spent the money and pillaged industry. It’s going to take a long time and a lot of pain to put right the damage. Sankey

12:13pm Sun 5 Feb 12

Sankey says...

Paypt I think we would do well to employ the German model over here. Like them we are good at advanced technology. As you say they support industry and their stock market lends itself more to long term investment. They also have a strong public sector private sector partnership which we don’t. Here the public sector and private work into two silos. That’s why the public sector will over the next 10 years be outsourced to the private sector to develop the partnership and to address the public sector pension issue which is unaffordable even after the reforms.
Paypt I think we would do well to employ the German model over here. Like them we are good at advanced technology. As you say they support industry and their stock market lends itself more to long term investment. They also have a strong public sector private sector partnership which we don’t. Here the public sector and private work into two silos. That’s why the public sector will over the next 10 years be outsourced to the private sector to develop the partnership and to address the public sector pension issue which is unaffordable even after the reforms. Sankey

1:36pm Sun 5 Feb 12

Bill Bradbury says...

Sankey's rose coloured specs about Germany re Public/Private fails to state they pay a lot more in taxes and services in the Private Sector. What can you expect from a Tory-it's their policy so he would agree.
Sankey's rose coloured specs about Germany re Public/Private fails to state they pay a lot more in taxes and services in the Private Sector. What can you expect from a Tory-it's their policy so he would agree. Bill Bradbury

2:43pm Sun 5 Feb 12

Sankey says...

The tax system in Germany is slightly less than the UK actually. But they do pay high tax as do we in the UK. While we waste ours on a bloated an inefficient public sector and millions of people to sit all home all day they invest theirs in industry. Countering this they have spent a lot on re-unification and now propping up the Euro. So if we keep away from the disastrous Euro and develop looser ties with the EU and trade with emerging economies. India, China and Latin America there could be a bright future one day for the UK. No country in the world (including Germany) has an NHS or our hopeless education system. Both these are run for the benefit of the people who work in them and the unions. They will be reformed and will deliver the services we have a right to expect instead being hostage to vested interests. Bill Bradbury desperately clings to the ruinous past and the future I portray here will happen whether we have a Labour or Conservative government because there is no other choice if we are to pay our way in the world once more and have jobs for future generations.
The tax system in Germany is slightly less than the UK actually. But they do pay high tax as do we in the UK. While we waste ours on a bloated an inefficient public sector and millions of people to sit all home all day they invest theirs in industry. Countering this they have spent a lot on re-unification and now propping up the Euro. So if we keep away from the disastrous Euro and develop looser ties with the EU and trade with emerging economies. India, China and Latin America there could be a bright future one day for the UK. No country in the world (including Germany) has an NHS or our hopeless education system. Both these are run for the benefit of the people who work in them and the unions. They will be reformed and will deliver the services we have a right to expect instead being hostage to vested interests. Bill Bradbury desperately clings to the ruinous past and the future I portray here will happen whether we have a Labour or Conservative government because there is no other choice if we are to pay our way in the world once more and have jobs for future generations. Sankey

5:23pm Sun 5 Feb 12

papyt says...

i agree with you sankey but do you think the bone idle wasters or the red menace will ever vote for a party that is going to make them work for their money or scrap the union strangle hold,we need a strong government who will make the changes needed and forget public opinion,as for the NHS we could scrap a large part of the treatments on offer and stick to the principles laid down when it was introduced,and when they said they would look after everybody from cradle to the grave i don't think they envisaged a scum family getting over £35k a year for doing naff all.
i agree with you sankey but do you think the bone idle wasters or the red menace will ever vote for a party that is going to make them work for their money or scrap the union strangle hold,we need a strong government who will make the changes needed and forget public opinion,as for the NHS we could scrap a large part of the treatments on offer and stick to the principles laid down when it was introduced,and when they said they would look after everybody from cradle to the grave i don't think they envisaged a scum family getting over £35k a year for doing naff all. papyt

7:28pm Wed 8 Feb 12

frankly says...

n/b, my staff job came through an advertisement, long after i left the factory where i was a shop steward..As for grafting, i grafted, at the british rail sheeting works, i grafted in the cellers and bottling plants at greenalls,i grafted at fibreglass making car parts on piecework,i grafted on tank rebuilds at pilkingtons, then i got my staff job elswhere, SO DONT TELL ME ABOUT GRAFTING.
n/b, my staff job came through an advertisement, long after i left the factory where i was a shop steward..As for grafting, i grafted, at the british rail sheeting works, i grafted in the cellers and bottling plants at greenalls,i grafted at fibreglass making car parts on piecework,i grafted on tank rebuilds at pilkingtons, then i got my staff job elswhere, SO DONT TELL ME ABOUT GRAFTING. frankly

11:26am Thu 9 Feb 12

kjd161 says...

frankly wrote:
n/b, my staff job came through an advertisement, long after i left the factory where i was a shop steward..As for grafting, i grafted, at the british rail sheeting works, i grafted in the cellers and bottling plants at greenalls,i grafted at fibreglass making car parts on piecework,i grafted on tank rebuilds at pilkingtons, then i got my staff job elswhere, SO DONT TELL ME ABOUT GRAFTING.
Calm down son. Methinks thou doth protest too much.
[quote][p][bold]frankly[/bold] wrote: n/b, my staff job came through an advertisement, long after i left the factory where i was a shop steward..As for grafting, i grafted, at the british rail sheeting works, i grafted in the cellers and bottling plants at greenalls,i grafted at fibreglass making car parts on piecework,i grafted on tank rebuilds at pilkingtons, then i got my staff job elswhere, SO DONT TELL ME ABOUT GRAFTING.[/p][/quote]Calm down son. Methinks thou doth protest too much. kjd161

10:00am Tue 28 Feb 12

dontlikeitdoyou says...

We keep getting told that Pilkingtons are creating new jobs but in reality they are only ever temporary positions and you only get on if you have relatives who work there. Nepotism will bring every firm down in the long run, I applied for a factory floor job there and I have worked in factories for 22 years, am a A-level educated and am a fire marshall and first aider. I never even got a reply but a few lads who got on had been previously unemployed or never worked in production. The employee numbers have been on the decline for the last 30 years and its only a matter of time before it is part of St Helens past as its been run poorly for years.
We keep getting told that Pilkingtons are creating new jobs but in reality they are only ever temporary positions and you only get on if you have relatives who work there. Nepotism will bring every firm down in the long run, I applied for a factory floor job there and I have worked in factories for 22 years, am a A-level educated and am a fire marshall and first aider. I never even got a reply but a few lads who got on had been previously unemployed or never worked in production. The employee numbers have been on the decline for the last 30 years and its only a matter of time before it is part of St Helens past as its been run poorly for years. dontlikeitdoyou

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