Manufacturing gloom deepens as Pilkington cuts jobs

Hundreds of jobs are under threat at the British operations of Pilkington, the Japanese-owned glass maker, amid falling demand for its products from the automotive and construction industries.

The company, which has already shed around 300 jobs in Britain this year, is looking to cut a number of additional posts understood to be in "the low hundreds" as part of an international restructuring announced last week. Dire market conditions have prompted Pilkington’s parent company, Nippon Sheet Glass, to launch a £150m cost-cutting plan that will result in job losses across the company’s businesses. Pilkington has about 3,000 workers in Britain, most of whom are based in north-west England.A spokesman confirmed that the glass maker is looking to reduce numbers further and has launched a voluntary redundancy programme at its Latham facility in Lancashire.

There will also be a small number of job losses at the company’s St Helens plant where its Automotive Value Added operation has been closed. One of its float lines at the plant remains shut down, meaning that 90 workers who had expected to resume work when production continued are still not needed.

Nippon Sheet Glass aims to cut 5,800 positions across its global operations by March 2010, equating to around 15pc of its workforce as it aims for a return to profit growth in 2011.

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