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270 jobs to go as Melrose continues bid to buy engineering firm GKN

Workers at the Brush turbogenerator business in Loughborough which Melrose bought in 2008 face losing their jobs, union officials said.

Investment giant Melrose is planning to cut 270 jobs as it continues its bid to buy engineering firm GKN.

Union officials said workers at the Brush turbogenerator business in Loughborough which Melrose bought in 2008 faced losing their jobs.

The firm blamed lower global demand for turbogenerators, which provide electricity for the oil and gas industry.

Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said: “Unite will be fighting to save jobs and protect our members’ interests.

“This is a highly skilled workforce who contribute massively to the local economy and wider UK engineering and manufacturing sector.

“Offshoring their jobs will deny the local community of decent, well-paid work and further hollow out the region’s engineering skill base.

“Unite is far from convinced of the case behind this move and will be challenging the rationale during the consultation.

“Over the coming days and weeks, Unite will be giving maximum support to our members through this distressing time as we fight to protect jobs and skills.”

A statement said the Brush Group intends to restructure its generator manufacturing capacity as a result of the “continued deterioration” of the power generation market and a subsequent decline in demand.

“The company has entered into consultation with its workforce about the future of its 2-pole turbo-generator production at its Loughborough site. The consultations will affect up to 270 positions in Loughborough out of a total UK workforce of 790.

“Traditional power markets have seen a significant decline in recent years, driven by the overall growth in renewables. This has led to a fall in demand for the company’s generators and a substantial overcapacity in global generator manufacturing.”

Sales at Brush peaked in 2012 at 208 units, falling to 70 sales in 2017, with 21 built in Loughborough.

Other activities at the Loughborough site, including the transformer manufacturing business – as well as its other facilities in Wales and Derbyshire, will be unaffected.

The Loughborough site will also maintain an engineering team and R&D capabilities.

Chris Abbott, chief executive of Brush, said: “The simple fact is that our 2-pole operation has a critical shortage of orders. The market has seen a major structural shift and we have suffered as a result.

“We must therefore consult on the need to reduce our manufacturing capacity in order to safeguard the long term future of Brush and protect the legacy of one of Britain’s longest established manufacturing businesses.

“We will do our utmost to ensure that the affected employees are supported to the best of our ability and that we find the most favourable outcomes for all concerned.

“Loughborough nevertheless remains at the heart of our after-market operations, which are flourishing, and the transformers unit, which is also performing well.”

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