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Valves firm Crane to close Ipswich plant

Valves and fittings manufacturer Crane Fluid Systems (Crane) will close production at its Ipswich plant. During the course of 2008, production will move to the company’s facilities in China and Hitchin. Crane currently employs 210 people in production roles in Ipswich. Peter Wilson, managing director of Crane said: “Over recent years we have moved some of our manufacturing processes to lower-cost countries and this has helped us to remain competitive in certain of our markets. “With the sale of the Nacton Road (Ipswich) site we now believe that it is appropriate and necessary to further rationalise our manufacturing and regrettably our proposals will mean the closure of a number of activities and a number of redundancies.” Crane plans to transfer a number of people that are employed at the site to Hitchin, while head office functions will stay in Ipswich. Ian Marshall, regional officer for Unite the union, expressed his dismay at the planned closure. “We’re disappointed that there was no consultation or opportunity to negotiate. Crane is prepared to offer some the chance to move to Hitchin, but we feel this is an option few will take. “It’s another example of a multinational moving its facilities to where the cheap labour is. The cost is the loss of many jobs. It is a sad day for Crane and its staff, especially as they were notified in the run up to Christmas.” Mr Marshall said Unite would meet with Crane with a view to retaining some or all of the jobs, or negotiating a redundancy package on behalf of its members.