Bonnybridge plant to stay open securing 60 jobs

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Around 60 jobs have been saved in Bonnybridge as a manufacturing plant earmarked for closure will now stay open.

Jobs at the RHI Refractories UK Ltd site in the town’s Hillview Road have been under threat after the company announced it would close and operations would move to Clydebank.

But the company has done a U-turn and instead will close the Cydebank site and move all staff and production from West Dunbartonshire to Falkirk district.

Plant team leader Steven Bryce said: “It’s a huge relief for staff here in Bonnybridge. There’s been a lot of uncertainty for some time now and everyone is happy that a future has been secured.

“We weren’t sure whether we were going to close or stay open as the order situation had downsized and we had increasing running costs, but it is a smaller operation in Bonnybridge than it is in Clydebank. It’s great for the manufacturing process.”

RHI is a world market leader in refractories with headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

It produces ISO ceramics, slide gate plates, lade bricks and purging blocks for the steel industry, which has been in decline for many years.

The steel industry hit a crisis last year when three major companies announced potential job losses of over 5000 positions.

This was down to a number of factors including: competition from China; the strength of the pound which made UK steel more expensive on the international market; high energy prices; and costs related to climate change policies.

Demand for steel has been sluggish since the financial crash, but is expected to 
rise by 0.7 per cent this 
year.

The firm says it has been confronted with “an unfavourable market environment in Europe, uncertain macroeconomic conditions, low economic growth rates, over-capacities and reduced demand in main customer markets” which have created a “severe competitive situation within the refractory industry.

A spokesman for the company said: “As a result, the production plants in Scotland, focused on technical refractory products for the steel industry, are running with very low demand.

“Therefore RHI has taken the decision to rationalise the plant structure, close the RHI Clydebank facility and transfer all production to the remaining RHI plant in Bonnybridge.

“The plant in Clydebank currently employs around 106 people. RHI hopes to transfer all employees to the nearby Bonnybridge plant and avoid any compulsory redundancies.”