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Sone Products, in Stanley, County Durham, says 46 roles could be affected after drop in orders
A PLASTICS firm, which supplies containers for the beauty industry, has revealed shock plans that could see about 50 jobs axed.
Sone Products, based in Stanley, County Durham, says 46 workers' posts are under review after a dramatic fall in orders from one of its biggest customers.
Workers found out yesterday and the company says affected staff are now in consultation with bosses, who hope some will opt to take voluntary redundancy, agree to job share, or work part-time.
The news is a bitter blow for the firm, which only days ago revealed a £200,000 annual contract with dental product supplier, Curaden International AG, to make millions of toothpicks for Scandinavia.
Earlier this year, the company, which employs about 130 workers, also bought £700,000 of injection blow moulding equipment to increase production of its mascara, eyeliner and lip gloss packaging for global companies.
However, bosses last night told The Northern Echo it has been forced to make the decision after orders from a major client fell to less than half of August levels.
Raymond Oliver, Sone chairman and chief executive, said: “This was totally unexpected.
“We have a fantastic team here and they have all worked extremely hard to support our development over the last three years.
“That is why it's so bitterly disappointing to have had to place so many loyal workers on consultation.
“However, not to do so, would be to risk the security of the remaining staff at a time when we are starting to make some very encouraging progress in new markets.
“There is absolutely no blame attached to the workforce, which is why this is even more upsetting, and all our production staff are highly experienced so we are loathe to let anyone go.”
Mr Oliver said it was still talking to its customer about the fall in demand, but was also looking to attract new work.
He said: “We are still in negotiations over the downturn, but the company’s board of directors has made a decision to place fewer orders after changes in its own business.
“We are concentrating our efforts in sales and development and there are already some encouraging signs with a number of new enquiries.
“New customers take time to come through the door and it would be foolish to hope business may pick up significantly in the short-term.
“However, we remain committed to continuing the company's progress and turning this situation around.”
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