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Leaderflush workers learn of factory fate

PUBLISHED: 11:08 26 September 2012 | UPDATED: 10:08 27 September 2012

The Leaderflush Shapland factory in Barnstaple is set to close in November, with the loss of 75 jobs.

The Leaderflush Shapland factory in Barnstaple is set to close in November, with the loss of 75 jobs.

Archant

Bosses confirm closure details for Barnstaple door maker.

WORKERS at Leaderflush Shapland were given confirmation of the factory’s fate at a meeting with bosses and union officials yesterday afternoon (Tuesday).

Manufacturing is scheduled to cease at the Barnstaple door maker on November 29, with the loss of 72 jobs.

A handful of staff will stay on until December 20 to help with the site clean up and transfer of machinery to Nottingham.

A team of three security staff will lock the gates for the final time on February 1.

All office and sales staff are expected to remain in the town although the location of the office is not yet known.

Last week, new owners Laidlaw Interiors Group (LIG) announced that it had failed to find a commercially viable solution to safeguard the Anchorwood Bank operation.

Production is set to be transferred to Nottingham, and possibly other sites including Mansfield Sheffield, and India.

Part of the Raleigh Works site has already been sold to developers looking to build an Adsa supermarket.

Union officials visiting the factory yesterday said the mood was ‘sombre to a degree’, although workers had expected the closure for some time.

Kevin Norman, GMB full-time organiser for the South West, said: “People had known it was coming and although most thought it was coming before Christmas, they didn’t know a definite date until yesterday.”

Mr Norman said the GMB would be helping workers to look for vacancies with other companies in the area and that the union had agreed a forum with union learning representatives.

He said the company had agreed to release staff earlier should other job opportunities arise.

“The company has been very good in terms of offering loyalty bonuses to staff,” he added.

“There is still £1million worth of work still to be done before the closure so as long as staff maintain the level of work required then I am sure the company will continue to work with us.”

But Mr Norman said he was fearful of the knock-on effects that the factory’s closure could have for Barnstaple and the wider community.

He said: “Barnstaple is a small town and I understand unemployment is already at around 14 per cent.

“The closure of Leaderflush Shapland could increase that to 15 or 16 per cent and local shops will suffer without a doubt.

“People don’t realise that Leaderflush Shapland works with a significant number of local companies and organisations that supply them materials and transport,” he added.

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