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Swiss firm shuts facility

200 jobs go as Franke pulls plug on sink factory

FrankeAlmost 200 jobs will be axed after Franke Group announced the closure of its Carron Phoenix sink factory in Falkirk.

The Switzerland-based company said the shutdown is part of a Europe-wide efficiency programme.

Under the proposals, the plant, which employs 211 staff, will undertake a phased closure programme over the next 18-20 months. Around 15 warehousing jobs will be retained as Franke establishes a new logistics facility locally.

Operations director Bart Doornkamp said: “We are facing intense pressure from other international manufacturers in what is a very competitive global market and have been working hard over the past year to devise an effective, long-term strategy.

“Regrettably we have been left with no choice but to close our three existing facilities in Falkirk, Brunssum in Holland and Zilina in Slovakia and centralise our production on a more efficient, purpose-built greenfield site in Slovakia which will open in spring 2017.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly. We examined in great detail the option of upgrading the Falkirk plant but the high level of investment that would have been required made the business case simply unsustainable.

“Consultation with the trade unions is a priority to ensure that we undertake an orderly, phased closure of the plant by December 2017. Dependent on those discussions, we are hopeful that there will be no redundancies before the start of next year.”

The company said it is working with the unions to finalise appropriate terms for employees and, wherever possible, to agree support to help them find new jobs and training opportunities.

“We are confident we will reach agreement on these issues in the coming weeks,” said Mr Doornkamp.

“We are also in touch with Scottish Enterprise and the local authority to ensure all possible support is given to the workforce.”

The Falkirk plant, which the firm bought in 1990,  manufactures a range of granite sinks which will continue to be supplied to the UK market via its national sales office in Manchester.

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