WORKERS were dealt a massive blow this week when the axe fell on over 100 jobs at a crisis-hit meat firm and a further 45 are under threat at a glass firm.
Stunned staff at Great Harwood Food Products were told the devastating news shortly after arriving for work on Monday.
The company, part of 150-year-old Slingers in Great Harwood, sent 71 processing workers home with 40 maintenance and office staff to follow next month.
The firm, which processes and supplies meat to supermarkets, went into receivership in September blaming cash problems on the BSE outbreak in the 90s and the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis which rocked the meat industry.
Attempts to sell the company as a going concern failed despite 12 different buyers expressing an interest and it continued to operate at a loss of over £20,000 each week.
Ian Stokoe, joint administrative receiver of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: "For the last few months we have been trading the business with a view to try and find a purchaser.
"As the chance of a sale disappeared we took the decision to cease meat production although we are still actively trying to sell the site.
"All the affected employees have been paid up to Christmas with any holiday owing and we are assisting them in making claims for redundancy from the Department of Industry.
"We've been as informative as we can with the staff and have had regular meetings with employee representatives and the Transport General Workers Union who have some members at the site but I'm sure the news still came as a shock."
He said BSE and foot and mouth had a major impact on trade at the firm, adding: "Annual turnover was reduced by half to about £6.5 million.
"As the company was not operating at full capacity it became inefficient with tough price competition from supermarkets all adding to the losses."
Overton ward Councillor, Peter Clarke, said: "Any job loss is bad news, especially when an established company finds itself in difficulty due to adverse trading conditions and suffers job losses, it will be difficult for families affected by this at the start of the new year.
"Slingers has been going for years, but I know they never really got over the foot and mouth crisis a few years ago, this is a big blow for the area."
The beef boning and abattoir business which is based at the same site on Balfour Street, and employs 56 workers will continue to trade as will another Manchester based subsidiary business.
Hyndburn MP Greg Pope said: "It's a real tragedy that over 100 people have lost their jobs this week and my heart goes out to those people and their families."
"They will find it tough because the reality is people have mortgages to pay.
"There will be a lot of anguish among communities, especially in Great Harwood where people have worked for many years at Slingers."
Workers at troubled Polar Glass in Clayton-le-Moors were also facing a bleak future this week as administrators announced they are set to close down the business.
Around 45 workers, which is the entire workforce of Polar Glass, based on the Junction 7 Business Park, Clayton-le-Moors stand to lose their jobs if the move goes ahead.
The situation has arisen after its parent company, the Leyland-based Planet PVC Group went into administration in December, calling in finance firm Deloitte to manage its affairs.
Bill Dawson, of Deloitte's Manchester offices, said: "When we were first appointed, we identified around half a dozen firms who expressed interest in buying the business.
"Unfortunately, none of them wanted to complete the deal so we had no alternative but to announce redundancies. We are looking to find a buyer for the equipment at the plant so we can sell it on a break-up basis.
"Since the people we spoke to said they were not interested, this is the path we have had to go down and it is always disappointing to have to do it."
He added that the company had been able to safeguard around 200 jobs on the retail side of Planet PVC Group by selling the company to a management team.
Polar Glass manufactures windows, most of which are designed for use in conservatories.