All 233 jobs will be axed when car component company Stoneridge-Pollak pulls out of Mitcheldean just two years after moving in.Workers at the Vantage Point factory, which makes and designs electrical parts for cars, trucks and agricultural vehicles, have been given a year’s notice.

Company spokeswoman Elizabeth New said the mood remained fairly positive at the factory because staff have been given a year’s warning and there are opportunities for working overtime during their final year with the firm.

Local councillors are disappointed at news of the job losses, which come a month after the announcement that about 200 jobs will be created when London General Insurance relocated its HQ to Vantage Point.

District councillor George Read (Ind, Mitcheldean & Drybrook) said: “Any loss of jobs is our concern.

“Stoneridge-Pollak will be sadly missed in Mitcheldean.”

Parish council chairman Tony Pickthall added: “We want to keep people working in the Forest, so we’re sad to see jobs leaving it.

“It affects the community and the shops. It’s a terrible blow for the workers too.”

The US-owned company, once known as Delta Schoeller, was founded in London in 1860 and was bought by Ohio firm Stoneridge in 1999.

The renamed Stoneridge-Pollak moved its UK manufacturing operation from Northampton and two Cheltenham sites to the former Xerox site in 2005.

Only 20 per cent of the staff relocated so most the workers facing redundancy are from the Forest.

Alarm bells started ringing there in summer 2006 when the company’s main client General Motors announced a major part of its business was being awarded to a competitor in China from June 2008.

In a statement, Stoneridge-Pollak says: “The management of the company has been working hard to try and reverse that decision but have now been informed by General Motors that this is not going to happen.

“The continual pressures within the automotive industry and aggressive customer cost-downs have resulted in a proposal to exit manufacturing on the UK site, with the business being absorbed into other Stoneridge facilities in Estonia and China.

“A phased process is proposed, with a target date of end 2008.”

The group used the publication of its financial results for the third quarter of 2007 to tell investors it was close both its Mitcheldean and Florida plants.

Net income had dipped from 2.1 million at the end of 2006 to 1.2 million, mainly due to life insurance changes to the pension plan.

Stoneridge said it hoped the closure of the plants would save the firm up to £5.75 million by 2009.

John C Corey, company president and chief executive officer, said: “While these actions are not a reflection of our employees’ performance at these locations, neither plant has a reasonable cost profile to sustain manufacturing operations.

“The cessation of manufacturing at these sites will be another step consistent with the need to reduce overheads to improve Stoneridge’s cost base and effectively compete in the global marketplace.”

Source

Advertisements