Hitachi Rail EU has announced that up to 250 members of staff at its Newton Aycliffe factory could potentially lose their jobs in the coming weeks. The company’s factory at Newton Aycliffe opened in 2015 and is about to complete a manufacturing order worth £5.7 billion, the government-backed Inter City Express Programme (IEP).
Hitachi Rail said it is transitioning to a core workforce model, which involves a 45-day consultation with employees at the factory, as well as the union Unite, about reducing the number of permanent staff.
This news comes amid the business planning to invest £8.5 million on creating new carriage welding and painting facilities. Hitachi Rail has said that there may be opportunities for a number of staff to be redeployed to other parts of the business.
Chief operating officer for manufacturing Ross Nagle added: “New train fleets built by employees at Newton Aycliffe over the last four years are helping to transform Britain’s railway, of which we couldn’t be more proud. However, the cyclical nature of demand in the industry means the factory must be more flexible and agile to secure a long-term, sustainable future.”
Unite regional officer Pat McCourt said: “The announcement of such large scale redundancies is bad news for the affected workers, their families and the local community.”