WORKERS have been left fearing for their futures after a major drinks depot entered administration and plans to close an envelope factory were announced.
Beer, wine and spirits wholesaler WaverleyTBS, which employs more than 208 staff at its base in Felling, Gateshead, has called in experts from Deloitte with the hope of selling the business as a going concern.
But for 62 staff at Bong UK’s Washington plant the picture is bleaker, with managers announcing a 30-day consultation that could see the end of the firm’s presence in the region.
However, managers at the County Durham factory, which is known locally as John Dickinson, have pledged to do all they can to support the affected staff.
Mark Cooper, managing director of Bong UK Ltd, said: “We fully appreciate the impact that this news will have on our workforce today, especially in the current economic climate, which has badly affected our own sector along with so many others.
“In the last few years the envelope manufacturing industry has been hit hard by both the economic recession and also changing lifestyles as people and businesses communicate more and more online.”
Several of the industry’s well-known manufacturers in the UK and Europe have closed or gone bankrupt in the last two years, while the Washington and Milton Keynes operations of Bong UK Ltd have shed around 30 jobs in the last 12 months.
“We scaled back our North East operation in the first quarter of the year with the loss of 10 jobs at Washington,” said Mr Cooper. “We had to advise staff back in June that we needed to evaluate the impact on jobs across Bong UK Ltd in the light of a continued decline in volumes.
“Our immediate focus as far as this part of our business is concerned is on having an honest and constructive discussion with the staff who are affected by these proposals, whilst continuing to provide a first class service to our customers across the UK.”