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Last Updated: Friday, 31 October, 2003, 21:04 GMT
Pottery plant closes
Workers arrive at Wedgwood's Alexandra factory
Workers arrive for one of the final shifts at the Wedgwood plant
Workers passed through the gates of one of Wedgwood's pottery factories in Stoke-on-Trent for the last time on Friday.

The historic pottery company announced in June that it is transferring the production of its lower-priced Johnson Brothers branded earthenware to factories in the Far East.

The Alexandra factory in Tunstall became the first of two Wedgwood factories that are closing this year when it shut its doors on Friday.

The Eagle factory in Hanley will also close in December.

Production at both the sites has wound down over the last month.

Some workers are transferring to the company's Barlaston or Tuscan sites, but about 750 employees are taking voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

The company said the decision to outsource work to countries offering cheaper labour was made to ensure the "long-term viability" of the Johnson Brothers brand, against a background of falling sales and slim profits.

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