A MANUFACTURING company which has a factory in Ilfracombe has confirmed UK staff will be affected by plans to build a plant in Slovakia.
Pall Corporation, which manufactures filtration, separation and purification products, has announced to staff it plans to open the new plant some time in 2014.
The company has stated there will be “some impact” on staff in the UK with regard to redundancies.
Pall said it was unable to say which UK plants would be affected, but expected to have more information available by September 2.
Ilfracombe Mayor Lynda Courtnadge said it would be a “major blow”, not just to the town but the surrounding area, if staff in North Devon were affected by the new plant.
She said: “It would be a major concern, but I understand one of the reasons that Pall came here was the cleanness of the air, so hopefully that might work in our favour if they look to move their filtration systems.”
North Devon MP Nick Harvey hoped the factory in Ilfracombe would be in a strong competitive position compared to other UK plants.
“It would be very concerning because we need to keep all the manufacturing jobs we can in North Devon and particularly Ilfracombe,” he said.
“I would hope Pall would think long and hard before taking employment out of the area and would recognise we have a very competitive labour market and moving jobs offshore is a only a short term advantage.”
In an announcement to staff, Pall’s vice-president of European manufacturing, Harvey Bond, wrote: “The creation of this facility will help Pall Europe address two very specific economic challenges: maximising margins in mature markets and mitigating costly foreign exchange rate risk.
“Once the facility is established, we will be able to migrate appropriate products to the site, which due to its location and currency, will both improve margin and reduce currency risk.”
The letter went on to say: “We recognise that this news may be unsettling for some employees.”
Pall spokesman Yvette Butterfield said: “Pall has released an announcement to its employees that it plans to establish a new manufacturing facility based in Slovakia. At this stage, we are assessing the options for which products would be suitable for migration to the facility.”