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Worcester's Metalbox factory may close
ONE hundred and thirty jobs are under threat as the future of a Worcester packaging firm that once made cans for some of the world’s best-known food and drink brands hangs in the balance.
Staff at Carnaud Metalbox in Perry Wood Walk, off Wyld’s Lane, were told yesterday that the future of the factory was in doubt.
A spokesman for the firm, which was taken over by Crown Cork and Seal in 1996, said it was consulting with staff about the factory’s future.
AN employee who has worked at the factory for almost 30 years said staff were devastated by the news.
The man, who declined to be named, said: “A lot of the blokes are upset. One of the directors told us the factory was closing down and no longer viable.
“There are people that have worked here for 40 years at least. It’s a devastating blow. Everyone’s wondering what we’re going to do. There are no jobs out there and we’ve all got mortgages and families. One of my mates had tears in his eyes.”
Metalbox opened its Perry Wood site in 1931. It was the first purpose-built open top can works in Britain.
In the past, it made packaging for household brands including Heinz, Cadbury, KP, Birdseye, Pepsi, Coke and Fray Bentos.
It is understood staff will now enter into a 90-day consultation period before the factory’s fate is decided.
A Crown spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have announced the start of a consultation process at our Perry Wood site in Worcester.
"We are now in talks with trade union representatives about options for the future of the site, as part of a wider review of our UK and Ireland manufacturing and business support facilities.
"Changes within the food packaging sector have caused a consistent decline in sales and our manufacturing capacity across our four UK and Ireland Food sites now unfortunately exceeds demand.
“To protect the future of the wider business and its employees, we need to consider proposals for restructuring.
"No decisions have yet been made. Further information will be provided when the consultation process is complete.”
Worcester MP Robin Walker said he was “very concerned” by the announcement and would contact the firm to ensure workers were receiving the information and support they need.
On its website, Crown describes itself as a leader in metal packaging technology with operations in 41 countries employing 20,700 people and net sales of $8.6 billion (£5.3 billion).