Wedgwood to close Staffordshire factory

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Waterford Wedgwood, the Irish group formed eight years ago by the merger of the crystal and china companies, is to close down a 112-year-old Staffordshire factory with the loss of 300 jobs, writes Martin Flanagan.

But the group said last night there would be no compulsory redundancies at the factory in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. A spokeswoman said 100 workers from the Johnson Brothers Imperial earthenware factory would be redeployed at one of the six other factories in the Wedgwood group. The other 200 job losses would be achieved through early retirement and voluntary redundancy on a Wedgwood group basis. The company has 4,000 staff in the UK.

One of the factors behind the closure of Hanley, which joined Wedgwood when the latter took over Johnson Brothers in 1968, is cheap competition from areas such as Asia and the Pacific.

The company stressed the closure, due to be completed by next July, was not linked to the recent decision to launch into new market sectors through the sale of tableware purchased from overseas.

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