ESCO Corporation, Guisborough
Martin Walker

Member Article

ESCO job losses a ‘huge’ blow, says MP

An MP has described the closure of a Teesside engineering firm as a “huge loss” to the area.

Multi-national ESCO Corporation has announced the closure of its Guisborough foundry, with the loss of 65 jobs.

Bosses told employees it will close by the end of the year.

Despite admitting it as a blow for the area, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, insists any possibility can’t be written off.

“This closure will be a huge loss for East Cleveland and my priority will be to support those employees who have been hit by this announcement any way I can,” said Mr Blenkinsop.

“Since hearing the news I have written to the firm offering whatever assistance I can give to help the workforce.

“We cannot write off any possibility at this moment, and I’ll be making my own enquiries into how we can help in conjunction with the workforces elected trade union representatives.

“It is vital that we ensure that opportunities are provided for the retraining of the employees, so that they will have a chance to apply for jobs elsewhere.”

ESCO at Guisboriugh is part of the ESCO Corporation which operates in 28 other countries around the world.

Directors at the business, which employs 55 foundry workers and 10 office staff, said the firm has been focussed on satisfying European customers.

However, demand for its products – excavator components for the construction industry – have slipped dramatically.

Tim Myers, president of US-based ESCO’s construction and industrial division, said: “We will be working with staff to help place them into other jobs, as we wind the business down.

“There are two ways to close the plant. We can just shut the gates, or give staff enough advance notice for them to make the transition to other opportunities; and that’s what we are doing.

“This closure is very difficult because ESCO’s Guisborough employees have done an outstanding job of producing high quality products in a responsive and responsible operation.

“This group is innovative, diligent and dedicated and ESCO is saddened to lose them.”

Mr Myers said the Teesside facility had been focused on supplying European markets.

“Since the crash of 2008, construction markets globally have continued to be down significantly in Europe,” he added.

“We are seeing markets down at least 30% from their 2007 peak, and we just don’t have enough business to operate the foundry effectively.

“It’s a product that requires high quality but also a good cost position, and if you are operating at half the capacity, you just can’t get there.

“We have been working on how to change this situation for a while, but we don’t see a change in the markets in any significant way moving forward and there’s a need to reduce our footprint capacity.

“ESCO continues to excel at providing customers with larger, highly engineered products, however, the Guisborough foundry produces smaller products where price and access to markets is critical.

“We cannot be cost competitive if we continue to manufacture these small products in a plant that is located far from our customers and running at partial capacity.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin Walker .

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