AN historic Worcester manufacturing firm is set to close with around 150 jobs losses, it has been reported.

The Joy Mining plant in Worcester, previously called Meco - which has almost 100 years of history in the city - is due to close by 2023 the Unite union and the BBC have said.

Despite attempts by the Worcester News to gain an official comment owners of the Joy Mining site, also known under the name Joy Global, did not respond yesterday.

The only official comment made by owners Komatsu to this paper has been to highlight a March press release about a new partnership with other manufacturers, to make some of the equipment made under the Joy brand.

The Bromyard Road-based firm said this was being done to help “meet customer needs to reduce costs and maximize performance”.

The statement said: “There may be changes to the company’s manufacturing footprint as a result of this shift, impacting Komatsu’s Manchester and Worcester facilities in the United Kingdom, but no immediate changes have been announced and there are no further details available at this time.”

Jason Savage, senior vice president at Komatsu Mining Corp, added in that press release: “We are focused on working with our employees and our customers to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

Stuart Baker, the regional officer from the Unite trade union, has told the BBC staff have been shocked at the decision of the company, which announced a small number of redundancies but did not place any workers on furlough during the pandemic.

Unite represents 80 members who work at the factory, and Mr Baker said many staff had been working for the company for more than three decades, so the closure and job losses would affect “a lot of families”.

He added the company has a healthy order book, but the owners had taken the decision products could be made cheaper in other areas, through moving work overseas.

The firm has a rich history in the city dating back to 1925, and was famously bombed by a lone German bomber on October 3, 1940.

The Meco bombing as it came to be known also destroyed a number of houses, and was the only attack to cause a loss of life in Worcester during the Second World War.

Plans for a memorial park to commemorate the seven people killed and 50 injured are currently underway.

Meco was bought by the Japanese firm in 2017.