Historic Carron works to close with loss of 200 jobs

The Carron Works first opened in 1759 and was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.

The Carron Works first opened in 1759 and was at the forefront of the industrial revolution.

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PLANS to axe a historic Scottish manufacturing plant have been unveiled with the loss of more than 200 jobs in a fresh blow for Scotland’s flatlining economy.

Carron Phoenix in Falkirk will relocate production to Slovakia in a move described as a “hammer blow” by unions.

The original Carron Company went bust in 1982, with production at the site significantly scaled back when it reopened as Carron Phoenix

The original Carron Company went bust in 1982, with production at the site significantly scaled back when it reopened as Carron Phoenix

The firm is the successor company to the historic Carron Company, which famously made the ‘carronade’ cannon used by the Royal Navy for more than 70 years.

The original plant went bust in 1982 and was later resurrected as Carron Phoenix. It was bought by Franke in 1990.

And in a separate jobs blow oil services firm Aker announced that 280 jobs are facing the axe in Aberdeen and London as the impact of the North Sea downturn continues to mount.

It has prompted fresh call for politicians in the Holyrood election to come up with an industrial strategy to tackle the “crisis in manufacturing.”

The Carron site now makes granite sinks and owner, the Swiss conglomerate Franke Artemis Holdings, has blamed “intense pressure” from other global manufacturers for the loss.

Full production wil be moved to a new greenfield site in Slovakia by 2017, with another plant in the Netherlands also closing.

But the move has come under fire from the GMB union which say the Falkirk site has a full order book.

Gary Cook, GMB Scotland Regional Officer, said: “This is another hammer blow to Scottish the Scottish economy and the workers are absolutely devastated.

“Once again Scottish workers are left pleading for a government intervention to try and save their livelihoods and skills – a depressingly familiar scenario that cannot continue unchallenged. The site is historically famed for making the cannons used by Wellington at Waterloo, the Royal Mail’s famous red postboxes and the iron casings which line the Clyde tunnel.

Franke operations director Bart Doornkamp said: “We are facing intense pressure from other international manufacturers in what is a very competitive global market.”

Oil services firm Aker Solution says a consultation is under way into reducing about 280 posts in the firm’s UK subsea workforce. The breakdown of where the jobs would be lost has not been specified.

Aker’s David Clark commented: “These are tough but necessary measures to help ensure we stay competitive during a challenging time.”

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