IT was the end of an era for Peterborough yesterday when a leading manufacturer shut down its fridge making plant with the loss of more than 400 jobs.
IT was the end of an era for Peterborough yesterday when a leading manufacturer shut down its fridge making plant with the loss of more than 400 jobs.With heads bowed and pay checks in hand, many of the 423 employees from the fridge maker Indesit left the Morley Way site after their final eight-hour shifts yesterday (Thursday).
The redundancies come just six months after the Italian-owned company dealt the devastating blow and announced plans to cease production.
Today, contractor at the site Jazz Benning (31), of Fulbridge Road, New England, said the mood throughout the final shifts was "sombre".
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Special Report: Hotpoint timeline: The path towards job losses
As Indesit shuts it's Hotpoint factory in Peterborough with 400 job losses.
He said: "Most of us are cleaning up and shutting everything down.
"Most of the people I know have either found jobs, have decided to retire or are just holding out until after Christmas.
"It is sad to see such a big manufacturing site like this disappearing from the city after so many years.
"The news has come quick for everyone. People were told in the summer and there have been announcements over the tannoy.
"Yesterday people were picking up their final pay cheques. Many had their heads down and a lot were upset that it was coming to an end.
"I still have a job but I don't know how long it will last. We are just taking it day by day."
The bombshell was dropped in May this year, four months after an Indesit employee found a sheet of paper left on a fax machine stating that jobs could be at risk.
It was then announced by bosses that manufacturing activities would be coming to an end after more than half a century of production.
Indesit, which purchased Hotpoint in 2001, will move its operation to Europe because of a "continued reduction" in demand from the UK market for free-standing fridges.
Indesit's UK manufacturing director Carlos Ramos said: "Our focus remains to do all that we can to offer support and advice to our employees to help them secure suitable employment elsewhere. The work force has been very loyal over the years and are a hard working team with a lot to offer. We sincerely wish them all the very best for the future."
Despite the closure of the manufacturing plant, the site remains the company's UK headquarters and continues to employ about 1,000 people in the head office, call centre, service and logistics operations.
GMB Union regional officer David Shamma said the day had come as a "devastating" blow to workers at the plant.
He said: "Many of them have been employed at the site for many years. There is a lot of history there, a lot of expertise and most of the workers expected that they would have a job for life at Indesit.
"It is going to be very difficult for them now."
Today, the city's MP Stewart Jackson spoke of his disappointment at the end of a manufacturing era.
He said: "It is a very sad day for Peterborough and the very dedicated and loyal workers who have lost their jobs.
"It is sad that skilled jobs are leaving the city and I hope the work force can find alternative employment.
"I really do hope this is the last of the large scale redundancies in the city. I hope that people are able to look on the bright side and think about future projects including the university, the hospital and the carbon challenge on the horizon."
Next page: Employee supportEmployee support
Bosses at Indesit say support has been provided for the 423 employees affected by the redundancy announced in May.
This has included a structured programme of training and workshops to help find new jobs, tackling CV development and interview skills and helping employees identify their transferable skills.
The firm has been in partnership with the Job Centre and Next Step to maximise job opportunities, with an average of 300-400 jobs advertised each week on the job boards on-site. The company has also liaised with a wide variety of local employers, over 20 of which have come to the site and met directly with the affected employees.
An Indesit spokesman said the firm's Job Shop and associated facilities will remain open until Christmas to help employees find jobs, develop and print CVs, and receive interview training.