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Thursday, 18 October, 2001, 13:35 GMT 14:35 UK
Wool mill 'likely to close'
Whiteheads mill
The workers could be out of a job by Christmas
Textile workers at a Bradford wool mill are facing redundancy after a potential buyer dropped out.

W and J Whitehead went into receivership on 20 July with the loss of 218 jobs.

A further 260 people were told they faced losing their jobs if a buyer could not be found by the time orders ran out at the end of October.

Receivers at the Laisterdyke mill confirmed on Thursday that the only potential buyer is no longer interested in taking over the wool-combing company.

You can never be completely certain, but I think we are 90% likely to close

Nick Halton, TGWU

Regional industrial organiser for the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU), Nick Halton, told BBC News Online: "I feel very shocked... from what I had heard I was expecting it to go through and we all had our hopes resting on this.

"I don't know why they have reached this decision, but it is a huge blow for Bradford."

At one stage there were six parties interested in taking over the mill, but this fell to just one in September.

Mr Halton said: "The work is running out and we have only got two or three weeks of work left.

Losing battle

"You can never be completely certain, but I think we are 90% likely to close.

"In my experience, one a mill closes, it is shut and the vultures are just waiting on the fence to strip the assets down.

"I think we have lost a losing battle."

The closure, blamed on the strong pound and manufacturing recession, would leave the city with just one mill, at nearby Bowling.

W and J Whitehead is one of the biggest employers in the city and makes woollen yarn which goes into a variety of products ranging from clothes to furnishing fabric.

In August, employees were told of the first job losses only hours before they left the plant for the two-week summer shutdown.

They were informed about the latest job cuts last week.

Mr Halton said: "It is coming up to Christmas time and the mill is the biggest employer in Laisterdyke, so it's a major blow to the community."

See also:

25 Sep 01 | England
Lifeline hope for troubled mill
03 Aug 01 | Business
Job losses at woollen mill
31 Jul 01 | Business
Mill jobs talks 'depressing'
31 Jul 01 | Business
Mill jobs battle steps up
25 Jul 01 | Business
Plea for textiles aid
24 Jul 01 | Business
600 textiles jobs in doubt
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