Stoke & Staffordshire

More than 100 jobs at Wedgwood in Barlaston to go

The site in Barlaston
Image caption Following consultation, 103 workers will lose their jobs, the company said

Just under a quarter of staff employed by Wedgwood in Staffordshire will lose their jobs, it has been announced.

The world famous pottery firm confirmed 97 manufacturing posts and six from restaurant operations will go from its Barlaston site.

The reductions to the 440-strong workforce would "strengthen the long-term health of the business", it said.

Union GMB said, although job losses were lower than expected, the news was "still devastating".

Job losses were initially announced in March with about 145 posts expected to be lost.

Image caption The 256-year-old company, set up by Josiah Wedgwood, is one of the oldest in the world

Ulla Lettijeff, president of the Fiskars Group, which runs Wedgwood, said difficult decisions had to be made to strengthen the long-term health of the business.

The company added it would provide "comprehensive support" to those affected by the changes.

Manufacturing operations on the site would focus on hand crafted, high-end products, a statement said, and it would continue to be developed as a visitor attraction.

Amanda Gearing, senior organiser at the GMB union, called the job losses a "scandal" and demanded a £5m government grant given to Wedgwood in 2014 be returned.

"This is a company that received more than £5m of taxpayer cash to create and keep jobs in the potteries...it's a scandal of epic proportions".

The staff reductions are expected to occur in phases until the end of the year.

The 256-year-old company is one of the oldest in the world, set up by Josiah Wedgwood, the grandfather of naturalist Charles Darwin.

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