Rockware: furnace closure, job losses at plant

The UK“s Rockware Glass said 8 December 2006 that it would close one of the furnaces at its Monk Bretton, Barnsley site in February 2007 with the loss of 200 jobs. The cuts come just months after the…

The UK“s Rockware Glass said 8 December 2006 that it would close one of the furnaces at its Monk Bretton, Barnsley site in February 2007 with the loss of 200 jobs. The cuts come just months after the firm announced 120 lay-offs due to the closure of another furnace at the plant in northern England. Earlier in 2006, 130 workers were left without jobs after Beatson Clark closed its factory at Stairfoot, also in Barnsley. Simon Morgan, from Rockware, blamed the job losses on high energy costs and stronger competition following the opening of the giant Quinn Glass factory in Cheshire, and said it was a decision “that has not been taken lightly”. He said: “We have tried to recover in part the continued and sustained cost base increases in all areas, but in particular energy”. “In an environment where a new entrant has caused overcapacity in the industry, Rockware is forced into announcing the closure of an additional furnace at its Barnsley factory following a substantial loss of business produced at the site”. “The furnace closure will result in the loss of approximately 200 jobs at the Barnsley factory, although full consultation with the workforce and their representatives is underway to minimise this impact”. “It is with regret that this decision has been made but it is essential for the continuation of the business. Rockware, however, remains committed to glass-making at its Barnsley site”. Officials from the Transport and General Workers Union say they will now hold meetings with Rockware to try to negotiate saving as many jobs as possible. Tas Sangha, from the TGWU, said: “Obviously we want to maintain as many jobs as possible and where redundancies are unavoidable, try to ensure people wanting to take redundancy are offered that option”.