Up to 160 jobs set to be axed at pottery giant

Up to 160 jobs are set to be axed at pottery firm Steelite International as a result of coronavirus.

The Stoke-on-Trent company, which is looking to reduce its 800-strong workforce by 20%, has launched a 45-day consultation over the job losses.

Louise Griffin, group HR director said: “We are constantly reviewing our overhead costs of the business to reflect the trading position at this time and to accommodate the impact of global market trading post-pandemic.

“While we are making operational changes to accommodate this and some savings will be seen as a result, the hospitality marketplace has been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and our anticipated growth will not be realised due to this sudden and dramatic downturn in trading we have seen in recent months.

“No business could have predicted these unprecedented times in which we now find ourselves and unfortunately difficult decisions must be made.

“Our priority during this process will be treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect and we hope that these measures will go some way to sustain Steelite’s future and the livelihoods of our colleagues that remain with us.”

GMB union organiser Wendy Grieveson said: “Manufacturing as a whole is being hit very, very hard and the problems are that people are going to made redundant and there’s nowhere for them to go.”

In March, the company announced that hundreds of staff were to have their hours cut following the coronavirus outbreak as the business reacted to falling global sales in its key hospitality sector.

The manufacturer put its hourly paid employees on a four day working week while a review of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business was undertaken.