MP’s ‘positive’ talks with jobs-axe factory bosses

POSITIVE DISCUSSIONS ... Stephen Hepburn has met with bosses to talk about threats to jobs at Hebburn-based Siemens Protection Devices.
POSITIVE DISCUSSIONS ... Stephen Hepburn has met with bosses to talk about threats to jobs at Hebburn-based Siemens Protection Devices.

SOUTH Tyneside MP Stephen Hepburn has had a “very positive” meeting with factory bosses after it was revealed that 90 jobs face the axe.

Workers at Siemens Protection Devices (SPDL) in North Farm Road, Hebburn, have been warned their work could be transferred to Goa, India.

The potential job losses have been blamed on increased international competition in the energy protection market.

After the shock announcement, Jarrow MP Mr Hepburn met with SPDL managing director Martin Bell and Siemens service director Des Young to discuss the proposed work transfer, which could result in compulsory redundancies.

German-owned Siemens has stressed that work on the massive Thameslink contract, set to create 300 jobs at the Hebburn plant, will not be affected by the plans.

It is hoped workers facing redundancy as a result of what Siemens calls “a global strategic review,” could be transferred to the Thameslink project, which will see the Hebburn plant manufacturing hi-tech electrical train components.

Mr Hepburn said: “I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Martin Bell and Des Young and it was a very positive meeting. I’ve been to many meetings over the years to discuss the threat of redundancies and loss of jobs, but I was extremely pleased that Siemens will do all it can to transfer the affected workers to the new Thameslink contract.

“The massive £1.6bn contract to make 1,140 carriages for the Thameslink line running from Brighton to Bedford will see 300 jobs created at the Hebburn plant, which, of course, is great news for our area.”

Martin Bell, managing director of SPDL, said: “SPDL plans to continue to design, develop, sell and technically support the Reyrolle product range at the Protection Devices facility in Hebburn.

“Research and development, product life cycle management, business development, marketing and business administration roles, together with a small workshop to cover repair, prototype, technical and quality support activities, will all remain at the facility.

“In the short term, no employees will be affected for at least 12 months by the proposed manufacturing transfer. At this stage, we are consulting with employees on the proposals.

“Should we proceed, in the region of 90 employees will be affected, however we will endeavour to provide alternative roles and re-skilling opportunities for those affected employees wherever possible within the wider Siemens organisation so as to minimise compulsory redundancies.”

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