Taskforce set up as jobs at risk at Stafford firm

A taskforce is to be set up to support an engine manufacturer in Stafford following the announcement of possible redundancies.

Perkins Engines’ parent company, Caterpillar, announced it is starting a consultation process to consider ceasing some manufacturing processes.

A voluntary severance programme is being offered to around 75 employees who set to be affected.

They will leave the business from the end of 2020. 

The Borough Council is now looking to put a taskforce together to help those affected in the town.

It will include Borough Council Leader, Patrick Farrington, local MP, Theo Clarke, and senior officers from both borough and county councils - as well as other key partners.

The group will look to work with the company to minimise the number of job losses and support workers who were at risk of redundancy.

Councillor Farrington (pictured) said it would have been ‘devastating’ news for those employees, and their families, who will now fear losing their livelihood.

He said: “Perkins are a major employer in Stafford. We have been in touch with them to offer support and expect to be meeting with key partners very soon so we can use the wide range of expertise and knowledge we have to support the workers and their families.

“We will also be aiming to minimise the number of redundancies, as well as trying to ensure we can keep skilled workers in employment and in our borough, and to assess any wider impact this may have on other local businesses, such as those who are suppliers to Perkins.”

Philip Atkins, Leader at Staffordshire County Council  said: “This will be a huge blow to people working at the company and their families and our priority is to offer all the support we can when appropriate.

“We will work with local partners, including the Borough Council, Jobcentre Plus and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to see how we can best help those affected in terms of practical support and retraining opportunities.

“A ‘Task Force’ meeting is being set up over the coming weeks that will include all the local partners to set out an offer of support to Perkins Engines and those affected employees and this will then be discussed with the company.

“The County Council and Local Enterprise Partnership’s decade long skills programme, which runs until 2024, has seen a 50 per cent reduction in the number of working age people with no qualifications.  In addition, it has seen over 22,000 people take part in learning programmes and exceeded its target with over 9,000 people progressing into work or training schemes.”

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