Heraus Quarzglas: takeover saves jobs at UK plant

The jobs of 125 workers have been saved after most of the Saint-Gobain Crystals plant in north-east England was sold to a German multinational but 23 jobs are in peril in one department which is not w…

The jobs of 125 workers have been saved after most of the Saint-Gobain Crystals plant in north-east England was sold to a German multinational but 23 jobs are in peril in one department which is not wanted by the new owners. The plant at Wallsend, near Newcastle which makes quartz products for the semi-conductor industry has been sold to Heraeus Quarzglas for an undisclosed sum. But the part of the plant which manufactures custom-made industrial testing products is not part of the deal and closure looks likely. A spokesman for Saint-Gobain said: “We can confirm that an agreement has been reached with Heraeus Quarzglas for the sale of manufacturing operations in Wallsend in the UK, together with operations in the USA, Japan and Korea”. “Saint-Gobain Crystals has also considered a number of options for the other product lines of its Wallsend business”. “However, in light of a combination of difficult market conditions and very mature markets, which are not expected to improve in the foreseeable future, it has concluded that there is no alternative but to close the business. Regretfully, this will result in 23 redundancies”. “Consultation with affected employees is under way, and every effort is being made to find alternative employment opportunities, including the use of outplacement services”. Christopher Preston, regional organiser for the GMB union, said: “We met with the new owners at the end of last week. This takeover is good news for most of the workforce and hopefully the company will invest in its long-term future”. “It will be our job to try to convince the new owners to employ the 23 staff whose jobs are at risk”. Heraeus Quarzglas is the world“s largest quartz producer and has been in business for over 100 years.