One of Sudbury’s largest employers has confirmed it will close in 2020, resulting in more than 500 job losses over the next three years.
Delphi Diesel Systems announced today that it plans to wind gradually wind down its manufacturing operations in Sudbury and cease all its activities at the Newton Road site, which employs 520 permanent staff, by August 2020.
The company stated the decision to shut the plant, is the result of the predicted decline in the demand for diesel vehicles, which the Sudbury facility specialises in making components for.
A statement released by the firm said: “Delphi is sensitive to the implications of this gradual wind down and will work closely with worker representatives to minimise the social impact from this decision.
“A programme will be put in place to help employees find alternative employment in the region or to relocate to other Delphi facilities.”
It is understood that approximately 50 redundancies will occur at the plant between now and Christmas.
The announcement has been met with strong criticism from Unite, the country’s biggest trade union, which said it would continue to fight against the closure of the site.
Unite regional officer Neal Evans said: “We definitely believe the company jumped the gun, putting the jobs of the workers and the security of their families in danger, as it did not allow enough time for alternatives to be developed.
“What is happening here is that the work at the Sudbury plant, which is making a healthy six-figure profit each month, is being sent to Romania, where labour costs are lower and subsidies are greater.
“The company has said that some of the work would be transferred to another site in Gloucestershire, but we have no written assurances that this will be the case.
“We will continue to campaign for the company to reverse the closure and we desperately need a pro-active and coherent industrial strategy as the country faces up to the daunting economic challenges of the post-Brexit world.
“We are also disappointed that not one of the East Anglian Tory MPs signed the House of Commons Early Day Motion (EDM) motion, expressing ‘grave concern’ that more than 500 jobs at the profitable in Suffolk site were under threat.”
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, reacting to the news, said the facility’s closure would be “a hard knock” for the town, and particularly the individuals affected who faced an uncertain future in the years ahead.
“Clearly, this is bad news and will be a blow to all employees at the plant,” he said.
“It is well known the plant has been successful and profitable, and the workforce is of the highest quality.
“However, we already knew the plant faced a challenging future, and when the consultation was announced, most people appreciated there was a relatively high probability of the plant being closed because of the structural market shift away from diesel.
“Personally, I am keenly aware this will be a hard knock for Sudbury to take, but of course the biggest impact is on those individuals who at best face an uncertain future, and at worst, the loss of good quality employment with an established local plant.
“It is nevertheless a positive of sorts that the closure will be phased over three years. At the very least, this gives the workforce time to look for alternative employment.
“Finally, we must not forget that nationally we have the lowest unemployment rate since 1975 and that Sudbury remains an attractive place to run a business.
“The responsibility going forward is for national and local stakeholders to come together to ensure that Sudbury has an even brighter future.”