‘Around 100 jobs at risk’ as rail firm plans to close site

Train carriage refurbishment firm Wabtec is planning to shut down its Kilmarnock base.

‘Around 100 jobs at risk’ as rail firm plans to close site Google 2020

Around 100 jobs are under threat in East Ayrshire with the proposed closure of a train carriage refurbishment firm, a union has warned.

The Unite union say Wabtec is planning to “consolidate” its operations in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, following a reduction in orders.

Those plans would result in the closure of the Kilmarnock base, originally opened as Andrew Barclay and Sons in 1840, which has helped refurbish recent Abellio ScotRail and ScotRail models.

The rail firm was awarded a Scottish Government train refurbishment contract worth around £8m in November 2017.

Unite regional industrial officer Paul Bennett has criticised the planned closure.

He said: “The Wabtec site in Kilmarnock is steeped in history since opening as Andrew Barclay and Sons in 1840 as an engineering workshop.

“It was only recently Wabtec was saying that was it fully committed to the long-term success of its Kilmarnock facility and that it planned to ‘invest accordingly’.

“We are dismayed by this decision and believe it to be completely premature.

“That’s why we are demanding that the company work with us to explore every avenue to bring in more work.”

He added: “Unite is also asking the Scottish Government to offer every support it can to keep the yard open in order to ensure that jobs can be supported in Kilmarnock and that some manufacturing footprint for our rail industry is still left in Scotland.”

A spokesman for Wabtec said: “Wabtec announced last week its intention to close its manufacturing operations at its Scottish Wheelset and Vehicle Overhaul facility in Kilmarnock.

“Decisions like this are never easy, but over the past few years, our site has experienced reduced volume and this decrease is no longer sustainable.

“This decision will help to simplify and optimise the company’s manufacturing footprint in today’s cyclical environment, as well as better position Wabtec for success. 

“The company remains fully committed to all customer commitments and providing impacted employees with resources and benefits to manage the transition.”

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