STAFFORDSHIRE: Twyford Bathrooms has, with regret, announced that it will commence consultations with affected employees about considering the closure of the Alsager factory. The company will complete a full consultation with representatives of all affected employees which will consider all options. This will also involve restructuring the technical product development organisation which, following consultation, may also lead to redundancies.

The decision to commence consultations with regard to the factory and the technical product development teams does not impact on the commercial functions of Twyford Bathrooms and the UK head office including sales, marketing, customer services, warehousing, logistics and support services. 

It is intended that these functions will remain at the Cheshire site safeguarding 183 jobs. Twyford Bathrooms has been part of Sanitec, the European sanitaryware manufacturing group, since January 2001. 

It has been increasingly necessary to source increasing amounts of product from elsewhere within the Sanitec Group to remain competitive in the face of increased low cost imports, the company said.  The volume of production at Alsager has been decreasing year on year since 2007 and the factory is currently running at 50% capacity. 

Announcing the decision Mike Conlon, senior vice president of Twyford Bathrooms, said: “We have announced our intention to commence consultation with affected employees. 

“The decision to commence consultations is not one we have come to lightly, but the current global economic downturn and the unprecedented economic times not only in the UK but across Europe which the bathroom industry is facing, means that this is something that we have to consider.

"The bathroom market has become increasingly challenging and that leads us to consider whether it is possible for Twyford Bathrooms to continue production in the UK.

“Production volume at the factory has been reducing year on year since 2007 and it currently operates at 50% capacity which is unsustainable. The management is deeply saddened by this announcement and we realise that this will have a major impact on our employees and we will support them as best as we can through this difficult period.”

The company intends to set up consultation meetings with appropriate representatives of affected employees to discuss plans fully. Part of these consultations will be to explore possibilities to minimise the impact upon individuals. 

Following the consultation process, should the decision be made to close the factory, it will not happen until 2011. This announcement signals the start of a long process that will include comprehensive consultation with staff.