Number of Plaxton job losses announced, as parent company is also to close one of its production sites

The company that owns Plaxton has announced that 90 jobs are to go at the Eastfield factory, while it is to shut its Guildford production site.

By Steve Bambridge
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 2:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th August 2020, 2:34 pm

Alexander Dennis (ADL) is also cutting 160 jobs at its Falkirk site.

ADL, the UK’s largest bus and coach builder, has been blasted for its "disgraceful and deceptive" behaviour by the union Unite, following the shock announcement that it will close production at its site in Guildford, Surrey, with the loss of 200 jobs, as well as making redundancies at its plants in Falkirk and Scarborough.

Staff were told today that production at Guildford will end during a meeting called to provide more details of the 650 job losses across the firm’s sites at Falkirk, Guildford and Scarborough, which were announced earlier this month.

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Plaxton, at Eastfield

The company has told staff at Falkirk that 160 jobs will go, with more still to be announced, while 90 jobs will go in Scarborough.

ADL has blamed a drop in business due to coronavirus for the cuts.

Unite said ADL is using Covid-19 as an excuse to accelerate restructuring plans developed before the pandemic.

On its website, ADL says it intends to transfer chassis production from Guildford to Falkirk. "This will impact around 200 employees in manufacturing and operational support roles at Guildford. Non-manufacturing functions including Engineering, Test & Development and Aftermarket will continue to be based at the Guildford site."

It adds: "The current lack of demand for new buses and coaches will also mean the potential loss of 90 production jobs in Scarborough and a net reduction of 160 manufacturing roles in Falkirk, even with chassis assembly transferred to that site.

"As the company adjusts its overhead to the change in manufacturing activity, a further 200 roles will be affected in support functions across all UK sites. ADL is actively seeking voluntary redundancies to reduce the number of compulsory job losses."

ADL President & Managing Director Paul Davies said: “We have no choice but to implement these tough decisions to protect the company’s future health.

"We remain confident that the situation will improve in time, and we are well placed to take advantage when that happens, but right now we have to adjust to our new economic reality."

Earlier this week, Unite exposed the plans by ADL’s parent company, the NFI Group, to potentially close a UK site and outsource a large bus building contract for Berlin to a company in Turkey, despite using the decline in orders to try and justify planned cuts.

Unite has been calling for the prime minister's promised order of 4,000 new low emission buses to be brought forward to help the bus and coach industry to recover from Covid-19, but says any support must now be conditional on ADL ending job cuts and outsourcing and committing to the long term future of each site.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “While the coronavirus crisis has undoubtedly impacted ADL’s short term operations following a collapse in orders from UK bus operators, the firm’s Canadian parent company NFI has exposed the true extent of its betrayal of UK workers, their families and communities.

“Pre-Covid plans, identified by Unite following disclosure of information requests, are now being accelerated to use the pandemic as an excuse to bring forward the ending of production at Guildford and attack jobs across the group while outsourcing work abroad in order to line shareholder pockets.

"The fact that all this is being done after the company took full advantage of UK taxpayer’s money through the job retention scheme, and after our help has been sought to secure government funding for advanced manufacture of green buses, is a gross betrayal of a loyal, world class workforce."

“ADL and NFI’s disgraceful and deceptive actions are devastating for workers and communities across the UK. If ADL believe that Unite will not organise workers and communities to fight these cuts they are sorely mistaken. ADL’s workforce is rightly incandescent at the way they have been treated, they will not stand for it and their union will be shoulder to shoulder with them at every step of this fight.”

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