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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
400 jobs cut at furniture plants
Store furniture
Unions say the news was a 'bolt from the blue'
More than 400 jobs will be lost at a furniture company in Flintshire which supplies Marks & Spencer.

Most jobs are going at Deeside Furniture at Greenfield near Holywell, and 50 are being cut from a curtain factory in nearby Flint.

Production is being transferred to owner Christie-Tyler's south Wales factories to cut costs and meet competition from foreign imports.

Workers were given the news on Friday morning and sent home.

I'm deeply disappointed because it has a skilled workforce who have committed themselves to the company
Alex Aldridge, Flintshire Council

Delyn MP David Hanson said: "I'm shocked and saddened because the workforce in Flintshire here have been very loyal to the company and helped to produce some top quality products.

"I am led to believe from the workforce I have spoken to that there's a full order book but I suspect that the company... are looking to rationalise production sites and therefore moving the site from Greenfield elsewhere.

"That's no consolation to the people I represent who are not necessarily in a position to move... after years of loyal service.

"I've spoken to the managing director today and I have indicated that I want a meeting to discuss this.

Deeside Furniture sign
Workers said they had become suspicious about the site's future

The MP has also contacted local assembly member Sandy Mewies and the leader of Flintshire Council Alex Aldridge.

Mr Aldridge said he was "exceedingly disappointed" at the news of the closure of one of Flintshire's largest employers.

He said the decision seemed all the more strange because the factory " appears to have a full order book".

"It would appear that Christie-Tyler, who own the factory, are to move it lock, stock and barrel, down to south Wales," Mr Aldridge said.

"I'm deeply disappointed because it has a skilled workforce who have committed themselves to the company and this has come like a bolt out of the blue".

He said the council's rapid response team had already swung into action and the authority, which owns the factory building, was seeking urgent talks with the company.

Workers' 'suspicions'

Liz Lewis, an official with the Transport and General Workers Union, which represents some of the workers at Deeside Furniture described the news as "devastating".

"I understand the workers turned up for work this morning and were just told the jobs were going," she said.

It is understood the factory has been operating for about 18 years.

One of the company's main customers is Marks & Spencer.

One worker, who asked not to be named, said staff had their suspicions about the factory's future for several weeks after the transport company used to ferry goods from the plant had been replaced by Christie-Tyler lorries.

He said: "We were called to a meeting at about twenty to twelve this morning and just told that the factory was closing. We were stunned.

"They've promised that consultations will begin on Monday, but everyone is absolutely gutted.

"There are quite a few married couples working there and a man who works with me also has his son and grandson working in the factory."

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