Closure of plant confirmed for later this year

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The future of a historic workplace was decided this week as 188 jobs will be lost when it closes later this year with just 23 posts remaining.

The owners of Carron Phoenix, the Franke Holdings AG, have confirmed the kitchen sink manufacturing operation at the Falkirk plant will move to Slovakia to cut costs leaving just the firm’s UK warehousing and distribution facilities here with just over 20 positions.

Franke announced in April last year its intention to close the plant which prompted efforts, now proven to be in vain, from the GMB union and Falkirk Council to save the site.

Throughout the process GMB accused Franke of “greed” as well as throwing its workers on the “scrapheap” over the closure plans. Only around 15 jobs were expected to be saved for the distribution site, but following extensive discussions with Scottish Enterprise and Falkirk Council the company has committed to retain the 23 staff.

Operations director Bart Doornkamp said the support from Scottish Enterprise and the council has made it possible for Carron Phoenix to continue with the logistics operations at the current site.

A spokesman for Franke group said: “The phased closure of the plant remains on course and as previously stated production will continue at the site throughout 2017, with operations expected to cease in the final quarter of the year.

“A final date for closure will be confirmed in due course and we will continue to work closely with both staff and local stakeholders to keep them informed of progress.

“In the meantime it is positive news that with the support of Falkirk Council and Scottish Enterprise an agreement has been reached to secure the retention of 23 jobs in a logistics hub within Falkirk.”

The council has also been working with its PACE partners to support the 211 staff affected by the impending closure. The site is historically linked with leading the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century when the Carron Company started it as an iron foundry.

It is famed for making the cannons used by Wellington at Waterloo, the Royal Mail’s famous red telephone boxes and postboxes and the iron casings which line the Clyde tunnel. Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory, was also equipped with cannons called ‘Carronades’.

Councillor Dennis Goldie, spokesperson for economic development, said: “Carron Phoenix is one of the most historic manufacturing sites in Scotland and it is very disappointing that, despite the diligence and commitment of the workforce, manufacturing will now come to an end.

“The retention of 23 jobs is to be welcomed though and we will continue to work with the company and its retained operations in Falkirk.”