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D-day for workers.

Byline: Karen Mclauchlan

Date set to find out fate of their jobs

WORKERS at a closure-threatened factory in East Cleveland will discover their fate on June 2, it emerged today.

US-based Texon UK - which makes materials for the shoe industry - has issued 90-day redundancy notices to its 234 staff at Skelton, along with another 224 based at two other plants in the UK.

Today unions said staff to be affected by the first wave of redundancies would be told on June 2.

Meanwhile, 350 workers at a County Durham clothing factory are facing the axe after owner Sara Lee Courtaulds said the site at West Auckland was likely to close in October.

Texon, which has been at Skelton Industrial Estate since 1970, makes non-woven and impregnated felt materials for insoles, linings and toe puffs.

Today Dick Flanary, branch secretary with the Transport and General Workers' Union at the factory, said: "The first wave of redundancies is likely to hit 90 to 110 staff at the site, but we still don't have a concrete number.

"But the jobs of everyone at this factory are at risk."

He said more talks were scheduled at the site for May 28.

"By then we should be in a position to know how many will be affected.

"Things are being done to stem the flow of cash from the site.

"Capacity has fallen and we are now faced with dropping one of our four shifts. We hope to try and diversify.

"We are trying to save the site - but it's all up in the air at the moment."

In 1996 Texon UK received a pounds 900,000 grant from the Department of Trade and Industry plus pounds 20,000 from Redcar and Cleveland Council to help provide another 80 jobs.

Meanwhile, staff at the Sara Lee Courtaulds factory have been left reeling after the company announced the plant is likely to close by the end of the year.

The factory makes women's clothing for Marks and Spencer's exclusive Autograph range - but production is being switched to a company with factories in Turkey and Morocco as part of M&S' move to reduce its costs.

Unions will be organising a protest campaign against the store.

Derek Cattell, from the GMB union, said: "Marks and Spencer have decided that in order to reduce their prices and maintain their profit margins the work is going to go overseas.

"Without that work it will be very difficult for the factory to survive. There's only work there until October."
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:May 15, 2003
Previous Article:Takeover worries affect Safeway.
Next Article:Business in brief.

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