Shocked workers were told that a leading gas supply fittings company is to move out of St Helens - with the potential loss of up to 216 jobs.
Shift workers at Crane Building Services and Utilities were told the news last Tuesday (February 11) in the canteen at the Delta Road works in Parr.
The firm, which supplies gas distribution fittings, pipeline equipment and valves to the water and gas industries, intends to exercise a lease-break option - which would result in the manufacturing operation leaving the site by March 31 next year.
In a statement, a company spokesman said: “Consultation with the 216-strong workforce has commenced and the company’s proposals, which include redundancy, will be discussed over forthcoming weeks.
“Crane acquired the business at St Helens in 2008, which had previously been subject to a management buyout from Delta plc.
“The St Helens site is an ageing facility with significant investment required to operate efficiently and to bring it up to world class manufacturing standards.”
He added: “The company owns other facilities in the UK which all have significant capacity for expansion and the company confirmed it would continue to invest into these facilities to sustain its world class manufacturing.”
Last March workers at the plant staged a 24-hour walkout, organised by the Unite and GMB unions, in protest at an “insulting” pay offer.