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Bid to save 500 jobs at Delphi factory takes major step forward

By Priya Kingsley-Adam

Potential buyers of a factory earmarked for closure have expressed interest in acquiring the site, which could save hundreds of jobs.

Delphi Diesel Systems has confirmed it will wind down operations at the site in Newton Road, Sudbury, by 2020, impacting more than 500 jobs in the process.

At a meeting of South Suffolk Taskforce – a group set up following the announcement of the intended closure last year – members heard that real progress was being made to secure the future of the site.

Task chairman and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said he was keen to see the industrial site retained to minimise the impact on staff.

“All the members of the taskforce agree that the best future for the plant is continued industrial use, preserving as many of those jobs as possible, conscious as we are that this is a very local workforce drawn primarily from Sudbury and south Suffolk, with an excellent skill set that we hope would be attractive to potential buyers,” he said.

“We have, therefore, engaged with the business department in Whitehall to help us go through its networks to bring forward potential interest.

“I can confirm that these efforts have been productive and have resulted in credible potential buyers coming forward to express interest in the purchase of the site on an industrial basis, and that potentially buyers we have engaged with see the principal asset of the business as its workforce.”

Mr Cartlidge highlighted that, although negotiations were still at an early stage, he acknowledged there was uncertainty surrounding the site’s future.

“I cannot say anymore on the specifics of that interest because negotiations are ongoing and, therefore, subject to commercial confidentiality, but, speaking as chairman of the taskforce, I am conscious that in our last evidence session on May 18, the union and workers present stressed that, within months, we would reach a tipping-point, with the rate of departure of key staff from the site likely to accelerate,” he said.

“As time has moved on since then, I wanted to update you to send a message to Delphi staff that, while nobody can provide guarantees of a particular conclusion at this stage, we are hopeful of a successful outcome that supports local and good-quality employment on the plant as far possible.”

Babergh District Council has appointed consultants Carter Jonas to conduct an options and appraisal study on the site.

John Ward, Babergh District Council leader said: “The consideration, including the options appraisal study, of the future of the Delphi site extends to the wider footprint, not just the factory, and the importance of the site to both the economy and community of Sudbury, and broader South Suffolk area, is very much recognised.”


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