THERE is hope Worcestershire firms will be able take on some of more than 100 staff made redundant at an historic Worcester factory.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has written to manufacturing businesses in a bid to secure jobs for workers from the doomed Carnaud Metalbox plant in Perry Wood Walk, off Wyld’s Lane.

Mr Walker, a member of the Select Committee for Business Innovation and Skills, said he had already received responses from three local businesses that either plan to take on staff or meet with company bosses to discuss proposals.

As reported in yesterday’s Worcester News, 118 staff at the packaging manufacturing plant were told on Monday they would lose their jobs this summer after owners Crown Cork and Seal decided to close the factory.

In his letter, Mr Walker said there was a “highly skilled and dedicated” workforce at the site, many of whom will be looking for jobs locally.

He said: “[These are] people who have spent many years in the packaging industry and a number of well qualified engineers and machine operators, the majority of whom will be seeking to remain in the Worcester area.

“Since the announcement of a consultation on the future of the factory, staff have remained at work, ensured that the company continues to deliver on customer orders and even broken some of their records for productivity.

“Everything I have heard, from both management and staff, points to this being a well qualified and well motivated workforce of which any employer would be proud.”

Mr Walker added that union Unite had “behaved impeccably” throughout a 90-day consultation on the future of the site and he had been “enormously impressed” by the “sense of common purpose and goodwill” between the union and management.

Metalbox opened its Perry Wood site in 1931. It was the first purpose-built open top can works in Britain.

It was taken over by Crown Cork and Seal in 1996, which said “a consistent decline in sales” due to changes within the food packaging sector was behind the decision.

In the past, the factory has made packaging for household brands including Heinz, Cadbury, KP, Birdseye, Pepsi, Coke and Fray Bentos.