Workers facing job losses as firm moves operations to Belgium

immunodiagnostics Ltd, Didcot Way, Boldon Business Park
immunodiagnostics Ltd, Didcot Way, Boldon Business Park

Jobs are set to be axed after a hi-tech South Tyneside firm revealed plans to switch operations across the continent.

Imminodiagnostic Systems (IDS) is planning to move part of its activities from its base in Didcot Way, Boldon, to an existing site in Belgium – with the loss of up to 26 jobs.

The medical technology company, which is a leading supplier to the clinical laboratory diagnostic market, says the overhaul is being pushed through in a bid to ‘steamline’ services and boost efficiency.

The proposal would see the workforce at Boldon – the UK headquarters for the global company – slashed from 121 to 95.

South Tyneside Council say news of potential job losses is ‘disappointing’ and plan to meet with the company.

A consultation process with staff is under way, with the company insisting it is still pursuing ‘all alternatives’ in a bid to reduce the number of potential job losses.

Former Mayor John Anglin.

Former Mayor John Anglin.

These efforts will include inviting applications for voluntary redundancies from workers.

Manual manufacturing would continue at the Boldon factory, as well as another site in Italy.

An IDS spokesman said: “IDS is looking to streamline and improve the efficiency of its assay manufacturing and development across the group.

“We are proposing to move all automated-related activities from our UK manufacturing site to our Belgium manufacturing facility, hence consolidating all automated activity in one location.

This proposal could result in up to 26 job losses.

IDS spokesman

“Against this background there is a possibility this proposal could result in up to 26 job losses at the UK manufacturing site situated in Boldon.

“This would reduce the total UK workforce to approximately 95 employees and adjust the total group workforce to 310 employees.

“As part of the consultation process, the company is considering all possible alternatives to reduce the number of potential redundancies, in particular the company is considering applications from volunteers for redundancy from those employees who are interested.

“We will continue to work closely with those employees that are affected to ensure they are supported.”

Councillor John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: “This is disappointing news.

“We appreciate that these are tough economic times for businesses as they look to make efficiencies.

“We will be contacting the company to offer support where we can to those who may be affected.”

Company factfile

IDS manufactures manual and automated specialist diagnostic testing kits and instruments for clinical and research markets.

It currently employs over 120 people at its UK headquarters in Boldon – and employs over 300 people at sites across Europe.

Automated analysers are a medical laboratory instrument designed to measure different chemicals and other characteristics in a number of biological samples quickly, with minimal human assistance.

The company develops, manufactures, and markets innovative technologies to provide improved diagnosis for patients suffering from a range of medical complaints, from calcium deficiency to hypertension and growth disorders.

Its products aim to improve laboratory efficiency and provide fast and accurate solutions for diagnosis and therapy monitoring.

IDS was established in 1977 and opened its Boldon base b in 1990.

In 1999, the firm scooped a Queen’s Award for technical achievement.

As part of its international expansion, the company opened research and production facilities in Liege, Belgium and Pouilly, France in 2007.

Last June, the company announced it expected a year of transition after announcing a profit slump of more than 50%.