Wave of job losses brings total to 11,000

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The Independent Online
A NEW WAVE of redundancies announced yesterday will mean the loss of up to 5,000 jobs in various parts of British industry.

The news will bring the total of job losses within the last seven days to more than 11,000 at a time when unemployment is moving towards three million.

Dun & Bradstreet, the business information group, calculated that 46,500 businesses have collapsed in the first nine months of the year - 40 per cent more than last year. More than 1,200 companies were failing every week.

The Government yesterday said it was closing 19 defence research centres involving the dismissal of 2,000 employees.

Union leaders at the Ministry of Defence said employees were shocked at the scale of job losses at the 54 Defence Research Agency sites which employ 11,700. The announcement of closures and cuts, to take place by 1995, came on top of a voluntary redundancy scheme to slim the workforce by up to 650.

Independent Television News said it would cut 112 technical support and administration jobs from its workforce of 750 under a cost reduction programme announced yesterday. The TV news company will ask for volunteers, but compulsory redundancies have not been ruled out. Those affected include camera crews, studio staff and videotape operators.

In a letter to staff, Robert Phillis, chief executive, said pressure on costs would continue. The cuts follow job losses of 40 when the Channel 4 Daily lost out to The Big Breakfast this month, and 137 redundancies last summer.

Sears, the retail group, announced plans to close 350 shoe shops, axing up to 1,800 jobs over three years. In addition 300 jobs are to go in its Freemans mail order business.

Sears said the closures would be of loss-making outlets under the Freeman Hardy Willis, Curtess, Dolcis, Saxone and Manfield facias. It said the 1,800 figure was the 'worst case' and it hoped to limit redundancies to 800.

Engineering job losses continued with the announcement of around 650 cuts at plants owned by Pirelli of Italy, and Northern Telecom of Canada.

The telecommunications equipment firm said that the recession is forcing the loss of more than 300 jobs at Monkstown, near Belfast. Northern Telecom is also axing 30 jobs at Cwmcarn, near Newport, Gwent, and almost 76 at Basildon, in Essex. The company employs 11,000 in Europe, mostly in the UK.

Pirelli told employees that it is reducing its workforce at Bishopstoke, in Hampshire, by 240. The company blamed advancing technology causing a slump in demand for copper cable. Union chiefs reacted angrily, saying that the UK is the only major European country where Pirelli can axe jobs without consultation and the preparation of a social plan for job loss victims.

More bleak industrial news is expected today with cutbacks at power stations and the BBC. Last week nearly 6,000 redundancies were announced in British industry: 3,000 at British Aerospace, more than 1,500 at Ford and nearly 1,000 at Rolls-Royce.