Stoke & Staffordshire

Steelite in Stoke-on-Trent to cut about 160 jobs

The company's premises in Stoke-on-Trent Image copyright Google
Image caption The firm, which employs about 800 people in Burslem, supplies the hospitality industry

A pottery manufacturer is planning to cut about 160 jobs following a "sudden and dramatic downturn in trade" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Steelite International has an 800-strong workforce in Stoke-on-Trent and says it hopes cuts and operational changes "will go some way to sustain Steelite's future".

The GMB union said the losses would affect "the whole community".

The cuts at the site in Middleport, Burslem, are expected across the team.

Steelite, which supplies the hospitality industry, had sought applications for voluntary redundancies and flexible working.

But the company, which is in consultation with the union, has informed employees there could be compulsory redundancies as it adapts to "anticipated global demand post COVID-19".

Louise Griffin, group HR director, said the hospitality market had been "significantly impacted" by the pandemic and the company's anticipated growth would not be realised.

"No business could have predicted these unprecedented times in which we now find ourselves and unfortunately difficult decisions must be made," she said.

"Our priority during this process will be treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect and we hope that these measures will go some way to sustain Steelite's future and the livelihoods of our colleagues that remain with us."

GMB organiser Wendy Grieveson said the pandemic had hit the pottery industry hard and "sales have gone through the floor".

She said: "Manufacturing as a whole is being hit very, very hard and the problems are that people are going to made redundant and there's nowhere for them to go."

In March, the firm closed for an extra week over Easter and cut hours.

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