Up to 160 jobs are set to be axed at pottery firm Steelite International as a result of coronavirus.
The Middleport business is looking to reduce its 800-strong workforce by 20 per cent as it adapts to an anticipated reduction in global demand post-Covid-19.
Since March, the company has introduced a host of new measures to try and mitigate the effects of the pandemic including introducing shorter working hours for hundreds of employees, extending the annual Easter shutdown and utilising the Government’s furlough scheme for the majority of its staff.
Earlier this month, Steelite informed staff that it will not be fully operational again by July 1 – and that is cannot confirm when its Orme Street factory will reopen.
But now the company has confirmed it has launched a 45-day consultation over the job losses which are expected to affect shop floor and office staff as well as management.
Louise Griffin, Group HR Director said: “We are constantly reviewing our overhead costs of the business to reflect the trading position at this time and to accommodate the impact of global market trading post-pandemic.
“While we are making operational changes to accommodate this and some savings will be seen as a result, the hospitality marketplace has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and our anticipated growth will not be realised due to this sudden and dramatic downturn in trading we have seen in recent months.
“No business could have predicted these unprecedented times in which we now find ourselves and unfortunately difficult decisions must be made.
“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.”
It is understood that around 130 hourly and weekly-paid staff will be affected by the redundancies and around 30 monthly-paid positions are under threat.
Steelite has now made a request for voluntary redundancy applications and flexible working arrangements in a bid to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies.
The announcement from Steelite follows similar news from fellow pottery firm Churchill China which is looking to cut 250 jobs from its Sandyford headquarters.
It also comes just days after Avnet Logistics confirmed 50 jobs are at risk at the company which is looking to close its Newcastle distribution centre.