BRITAIN’S jobs crisis suffered a Black Monday yesterday as nearly 4,000 workers were told they face the axe.
While the Prime Minister was unveiling “rehashed” plans to help the unemployed back into work, a string of firms announced it was already too late – with thousands set to join the benefit queues.The biggest casualty was logistics giant Wincanton which revealed it is to close two sites resulting in around 1,000 redundancies.
Up to 450 jobs will go from the company’s base at Trafford Park in Manchester while 550 will be lost in Gloucester through a merger with another logistics firm Culina.Elsewhere, machinery giant JCB added to the gloom, announcing it is to cut 684 jobs because of the lack of credit available from banks to fund machine purchases and continuing low confidence.
The losses will affect several sites, including plants in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Wrexham in North Wales. Workers at the company had already voted to reduce their hours last year in a bid to save jobs, a move which the firm said has protected over 300 employees from the threat of redundancy. But it was not enough.
In a separate blow, some 367 posts are to go at the troubled china and crystal maker Waterford Wedgwood, which went into administration last week.The redundancies will come at the company’s site in Barlaston, Staffordshire, the administrator Deloitte confirmed.
Around 200 jobs are also expected to go from the bookstore chain Waterstones as the company implements a series of cost-cutting measures.Waterstones employs around 4,500 staff at 303 outlets across the UK but has been struggling to ride out the economic downturn.
Adding to the mounting sense that Britain’s recession is likely to be prolonged and deep were a number of announcements from companies that hundreds of jobs were at risk.
Three firms went into administration yesterday putting a further 1,300 jobs on the line. The frozen food firm Newcastle Productions – which is licensed to manufacture and distribute Findus food in the UK – called in administrators after suffering cash flow problems, putting 420 jobs at risk.Meanwhile, the future of 850 staff at furniture retailer Land of Leather was in doubt last night after the ailing firm also called in administrators.
The Kent-based retailer, which has 109 stores, has been crippled by the housing crash and also the slump in the demand for “big ticket” goods such as furniture.
The third company to announce it was going into administration was Hull-based Honda dealership deVries, which employs 130 workers. The firm said it had appointed receivers after being hit by a fall in sales.
Also feeling the strain yesterday was Christie’s the auctioneers, which announced it was planning “a reorganisation which includes significant staff reductions”.
As the tranche of redundancies were being announced, the Prime Minister was busily unveiling a series of measures aimed at holding back the tide of job cuts.
The £500m scheme was branded too little too late by critics with measures including a “golden hello” of £2,500 for firms recruiting people unemployed for more than six months.