A major south Suffolk employer, which is set to cease its operations in the county next year, says it is committed to a positive transition for its employees and the site’s future.
Senior officers from Philips UK met with the South Suffolk Taskforce last month to discuss the firm’s next steps, as it prepares to shut the Philips Avent manufacturing plant in Glemsford in 2020, impacting hundreds of jobs.
The meeting, which was attended by representatives from local and central government and business groups, saw a broad consensus that the site should remain in industrial use after the departure of Philips.
Assurances were also made that staff facing redundancies would have good opportunities for employment in the local industrial sector.
MP for South Suffolk James Cartlidge, who also chairs the South Suffolk Taskforce, said: “I am pleased we were able to arrange this meeting with Philips, and I’m grateful that their team engaged so readily.
“Their decision to close the Avent plant is a major blow for the area, so it’s critical we are able to work with all stakeholders represented on the taskforce to look at how we respond as positively as possible.
“Certainly, there was good news from the job centre management represented at the meeting that vacancy rates are high and, for most firms, finding staff is a problem – so, hopefully, most employees made redundant will have every chance of finding alternative work.”
Representatives of the New Anglia LEP and the Department of International Trade confirmed they will now work to produce and distribute a leaflet around UK embassies overseas, promoting the factory site for inward investment opportunities.
Neil Mesher, CEO of Philips UK, added: “It is disappointing that we will not continue to have a long-term future in Glemsford.
“However, we are now focused on two vital outcomes – supporting our affected employees in the most constructive way possible, and finding a buyer for the site, so the plant can continue to deliver economic and employment value to the area.”
Published by the Suffolk Free Press.