Tata confirms New Year Winnington closures

Northwich Guardian: Tata confirms New Year Winnington closures Tata confirms New Year Winnington closures

HUNDREDS of workers face an uncertain Christmas after Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) confirmed it was shutting down two plants in Winnington.

Soda ash and calcium chloride production at the site will cease in the New Year, resulting in 220 job losses.

But the company said ‘restructuring’ its operations would secure 250 direct jobs within TCE’s remaining businesses across Northwich.

Hope of maintaining 140 years of soda ash production at the site was lost on Monday, December 9, when Tata confirmed rising energy costs had left it too expensive to operate.

The head office and the sodium bicarbonate plant will remain at Winnington.

TCE managing director, Martin Ashcroft, said: “There is real regret that TCE will have to bring to an end a long history of soda ash production at the Winnington site, but energy costs have overwhelmed the viability of these plants.

“Restructuring the company will provide a sustainable presence in Northwich.”

Closure will occur during the first quarter of 2014 and allow Tata to rebalance the energy it draws from its combined heat and power plant, producing less steam but generating more electricity.

However, the company is still subject to rising gas prices.

Mr Ashcroft said the ‘energy challenge’ TCE faced was an example of how European energy market prices ‘seriously threatens’ the ability of energy-intensive manufacturing companies to compete on the world stage.

He added: “We commend the unions and our employees in particular for playing a vital and constructive role in helping to develop a sustainable future, which will be focussed on growth.

“As a result, we expect to be able to restrict the number of compulsory redundancies to 75 through redeployment and voluntary redundancies and TCE will be providing a significantly enhanced redundancy package and a comprehensive outplacement programme to assist employees leaving the business.

“Thanks to the backing of many stakeholders, our employees and the shareholder, TCE now looks to the future opportunity to grow our business in existing and new markets and to secure our presence in Northwich for the long term.”

Tata spokesman Stephen Bray added that the closures were ‘absolutely unavoidable.’ “Energy prices account for more than half of what it takes to produce soda ash. To do nothing would have sunk the business completely,” he said.

Tata Chemicals Europe is the UK’s sole manufacturer and supplier of soda ash and sodium bicarbonate.

Formerly known as Brunner, Mond and Company, it was originally founded in 1873 and was a major constituent of ICI’s formation in 1926.

Divested from ICI in 1991, it was acquired by Mumbai-based Tata Chemicals in 2006.

Soda ash has been produced in Winnington since 1874.

Tata Chemicals Europe also operates from sites in Lostock and Middlewich.

The Winnington closures will not impact the company’s salt production business.

Comments (2)

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2:20pm Tue 31 Dec 13

tracy manfredi says...

I feel extremely sorry for the families forced to face such adversity my heart does go out to them. This will no doubt have serious social consequences on society, more pressure on food banks, welfare and social housing etc but it's good that TATA have managed to reduce the closure impacts on the families in Northwich to a minimum through sustainable back to work programs and enhanced voluntary redundancies this shows that they are a responsible employer.

However that said TATA should be more honest and admit despite solving energy issues in their Soda plant in Delfjizl Netherlands and partaking in cheap energy from the Energy from Waste plant erected on the industrial site there the company still chose to close their Soda operations as the cheaper energy did not compensate for the fact that Manufactured Soda Ash simply can't compete with increased global supply of natural Trona (Soda ash) which is cheaper and less energy intensive to farm and is of superior quality and therefore more desirable. Stop blaming the energy crisis yes it forces up your cost base substantially, but even when you had cheap energy in Delfjzil the company still closed its operations. It is simply the time to call and end to your production of an inferior quality product that can't compete due to higer cost base. This was inevitable and the EFW and energy card was always just a way to maximise shareholder wealth on exit.

I genuinely feel upset for the 75 who were forced to take redundancy and were not in a position to wish to do so, I have a family and would be devastated to be in that position, there are people there to provide support if required like CWAC, the Mid Cheshire Food Bank that runs out of Bethal Church in Rudheath, the Salvation Army who can provide support home cooked food and advice, St Vincent De Paul Society should additional assistance be required even if only short-term.

I know there have been people who have blamed CHAIN for the closures, I genuinely believe the closures were inevitable and I personally studied the strategic position of the Northwich Soda Ash Business it competition and demand and supply chains, energy costs and requirements and past performances and closures in the global market.
However to those who do honestly believe CHAIN contributed to this I am genuinely sorry.
I feel extremely sorry for the families forced to face such adversity my heart does go out to them. This will no doubt have serious social consequences on society, more pressure on food banks, welfare and social housing etc but it's good that TATA have managed to reduce the closure impacts on the families in Northwich to a minimum through sustainable back to work programs and enhanced voluntary redundancies this shows that they are a responsible employer. However that said TATA should be more honest and admit despite solving energy issues in their Soda plant in Delfjizl Netherlands and partaking in cheap energy from the Energy from Waste plant erected on the industrial site there the company still chose to close their Soda operations as the cheaper energy did not compensate for the fact that Manufactured Soda Ash simply can't compete with increased global supply of natural Trona (Soda ash) which is cheaper and less energy intensive to farm and is of superior quality and therefore more desirable. Stop blaming the energy crisis yes it forces up your cost base substantially, but even when you had cheap energy in Delfjzil the company still closed its operations. It is simply the time to call and end to your production of an inferior quality product that can't compete due to higer cost base. This was inevitable and the EFW and energy card was always just a way to maximise shareholder wealth on exit. I genuinely feel upset for the 75 who were forced to take redundancy and were not in a position to wish to do so, I have a family and would be devastated to be in that position, there are people there to provide support if required like CWAC, the Mid Cheshire Food Bank that runs out of Bethal Church in Rudheath, the Salvation Army who can provide support home cooked food and advice, St Vincent De Paul Society should additional assistance be required even if only short-term. I know there have been people who have blamed CHAIN for the closures, I genuinely believe the closures were inevitable and I personally studied the strategic position of the Northwich Soda Ash Business it competition and demand and supply chains, energy costs and requirements and past performances and closures in the global market. However to those who do honestly believe CHAIN contributed to this I am genuinely sorry. tracy manfredi

9:58am Thu 2 Jan 14

tracy manfredi says...

Indeed the increase supply of trona from turkey via Eti and warehousing in Runcorn has had no impact on the decision to close the plant as predicted?
Indeed the increase supply of trona from turkey via Eti and warehousing in Runcorn has had no impact on the decision to close the plant as predicted? tracy manfredi

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