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Thursday, 26 April, 2001, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
British Timken to axe 950 jobs
British Timken factory
More than 300 people were made redundant from the company last March
Engineering company British Timken is to close with the loss of 950 jobs.

The Northampton-based firm is blaming high fixed costs, the slowdown in the global economy and the enduring strength of the pound.

The American-owned steel bearing plant at Duston, which is expected to close within 20 months, said the announcement was part of a global restructuring operation aimed at saving $100m world-wide.

The Northampton factory, which has been part of Timken since 1942, makes bearings mainly for the automotive industry, exporting up to 70% of its production to Continental Europe.


The decision to close this plant did not come easily

Karl Kimmerling
British Timken

The GMB union is seeking urgent talks with the firm.

Last week the Timken company in the US announced a 62% drop in earnings.

The firm said it was planning to cut 1,500 jobs worldwide, and shut or sell three plants.

Karl Kimmerling, president of the company's automotive business, said: "The decision to close this plant did not come easily.

"We very much regret the impact this action will have on the lives of our associates who work at Duston.

'Huge blow'

"They have made innumerable contributions and have earned our respect.

"As the plant ceases production we will be providing a comprehensive support and severance programme."

The company manufactures highly-engineered bearings, alloy and speciality steels and components.

It operates in 24 countries, employing 20,500 worldwide.

A GMB spokesman said: "This will be a huge body blow to the region."

More than 300 workers were made redundant from the Duston factory last March, and the British Timken plant in Daventry closed at the start of last year with the workers transferring to Duston.

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