Families are facing a bleak Christmas with up to 15 employees facing redundancy at the famous ‘Nori’ Brickworks.
The owners of the Whinney Hill brickworks in Altham, Forterra, have confirmed that they are making cutbacks due to slowing demand for their extruded bricks.
The brickworks was only officially re-opened by Prime Minister David Cameron in February this year, who said the visit was ‘one of his favourite moments’, and that the reopening signalled that the government’s economic plan was working for East Lancashire in the long term.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones expressed disappointment in the redundancies, and sadness for the families facing job losses at Christmas.
He said: “My first thoughts are for the 15 families who have been given their P45s at Christmas. It will have come as a shock.
“Cameron said when he visited the brickworks that it was a sign of the economy doing well but now half of those new workers are being laid off because the demand for bricks is slowing considerably and the brickworks have huge stocks.”
He added: “I hope all is being done by JobCentre+, the DWP and the brickworks to support these families.”
George Stewart, operations director at Forterra, said: “A combination of excess inventory and a slower than expected increase in demand for extruded bricks, in the second half of this year, has led us to a period of consultation our staff at our Accrington brickworks.
“A final outcome is not yet defined and we are doing our very best to protect as many positions as possible.
“Job losses will not exceed 15 and we will aim to find alternative roles within the business for some of these people.”
He added: “This levelling out would see staff numbers return to those at the beginning of the year. Accrington remains an important site for the business and we will continue to invest in UK manufacturing as a whole.”
Forterra, formerly named Hanson Building Products, closed the site back in 2008 with a loss of 80 jobs, but pledged to reopen the factory after an upturn in the economy and an increased demand for bricks.
The site restarted production in January at a cost of £1.4m, creating nearly 40 new jobs.
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