Workers at Todmorden’s biggest employer are facing an uncertain future after Weir Minerals Europe announced it is looking to cut up to 47 jobs.
The company - which has its headquarters in Todmorden where it employs 440 people - wants to shed 5 per cent of the 800 workforce.
Most of those jobs are expected to be lost in Todmorden - the largest proportion from operations - and consultations with its staff are now underway.
The news of the job losses has been described as a “massive blow” by politicians who are shocked at the downturn in fortunes of a company that only last year received the Queens’ Award for Enterprise.
The Mayor of Todmorden, Coun Jayne Booth, said: “It’s a massive blow for the town when jobs in West Yorkshire aren’t that easy to come by. It’s tragic - especially when we hear from national Government that employment is on the up and the economy is improving.”
Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker said: “Any announcement of job losses is not good for anybody, especially in Todmorden where Weir Minerals is such a big employer. My understanding is that this is because of the falling international business which is devastating for the people in Todmorden, especially when the economy nationally is showing such a rise.”
The company has blamed the job losses on the difficult trading conditions abroad and managing director of Weir Minerals Europe, Tony Locke, said it was a very difficult decision and one that was not taken lightly.
“As a business serving markets all over the world, we need to be responsive to the global economy and the changing circumstances of our customers,” he said.
“Our European operations need to adjust to reflect the changes within the markets we serve. Every effort is being made to keep redundancies to a minimum and to mitigate the consequences, both on a personal level and to the business, to ensure that core skills and focus on world-class engineering are retained.”
The business supplies equipment to the mining, sand and gravel industries throughout Europe. That includes pumps, valves and wear resistant linings for mining and mineral processing.
It received the Queen’s Award in recognition of sustained growth in international sales over the last six years.
Mr Whittaker added: “I spoke to Tony Locke last week who said the company would go out of its way to ensure that a proper support package is in place for those who are going through the redundancy process.”