THE fate of up to 130 employees at one of the city's world-famous companies - Royal Worcester - is expected to be announced tomorrow.

Workers at the renowned porcelain manufacturer will be told who, among their ranks, have been made redundant as the firm reduces its workforce to improve profitability.

Garry Oakes, deputy general secretary of the Ceramic and Allied Trade Union, has been in Worcester on two occasions hammering out a deal with company bosses.

He represents 170 workers at the plant on Severn Street, which makes high quality plates, ornaments and other decorated porcelain products.

He said the workers who face the axe would learn their fate tomorrow.

"We had been hoping to reduce the numbers of redundancies, but we haven't reduced it as much as we would have liked - between 110 and 130 jobs will go," he said.

But he believes his members will be relieved that a course of action had been agreed and the uncertainty removed.

"I think they are relieved we have managed to reach an agreement with the company on the number of redundancies and what is going to happen next," he said.

He explained workers on the manufacturing side of the company would be hit hardest - he expects 110 to go, with some clerical positions lost as well.

Yesterday, however, a spokesman for Royal Worcester said negotiations with the Union were still continuing, and it was just a "possibility" workers would learn if their job would survive tomorrow.

"There is nothing further to report, and no firm decision has been made yet," they said.

Royal Worcester - established in 1751 and awarded a royal warrant - has been hit hard by a downturn in demand for its traditional items like tableware.

Instead, it hopes to concentrate on making high quality prestige ornamental items in the future.

In August 2000, Royal Worcester factory on Portland Walk was sold to pay off debts, and in November it slashed 100 jobs.