Search

Group Lotus shake-up to spark Norfolk job losses

09:27 19 September 2014

The work force leaving the Lotus factory at Hethel after the announcement of job losses. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The work force leaving the Lotus factory at Hethel after the announcement of job losses. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

copyright: Archant 2014

Sports car manufacturer Group Lotus has announced plans to make 325 staff redundant - more than a quarter of its entire workforce.

The production line at the Lotus factory at Hethel. Picture: Denise BradleyThe production line at the Lotus factory at Hethel. Picture: Denise Bradley

The company employs a total of 1,032 people in the county, as part of a global workforce of 1,215, making it likely the local operations will be hardest hit by the announcement.

Sources close to the company said as many as 270 jobs maybe at risk in Norfolk; 25 at its operation in Worcester and 30 in USA and China. However, Lotus denied the figures and said no decision had yet been made on where the jobs would go.

It said the decision was “regrettable” but “essential”, in order to reduce costs and secure the business’s future.

The announcement comes less than a year after the company pledged to create 300 new jobs as part of an agreement with the government which saw it awarded £10.44m through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Jean-Marc Gales CEO LotusJean-Marc Gales CEO Lotus

Yesterday, Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive of Group Lotus insisted the company was fully committed to Norfolk and had reassured business secretary Vince Cable that it was still on course to hit its employment targets.

“Just selling more cars is not sufficient,” he added. “We need to reduce our costs and that is why we have to put our workforce at risk of redundancy. 325 people is the maximum and we are trying to do what we can to redeploy people elsewhere in the company.”

He added: “For the time being we are going to continue building the Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars in Norfolk and there are no plans to out source anything.”

Workers have now entered a 45-day consultation with the company, but it is likely to be 90 days before it becomes clear how many salaried staff and agency workers will be affected. It comes despite a recent sales surge, with the Hethel-based firm selling 226 sports cars in July – a 65pc rise on the same period last year.

Richard Bacon, MP for South Norfolk, said he had spoken to Dr Cable and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith about securing the future of some workers through the government’s Talent Retention Solutions scheme, which matches skilled employees facing redundancy to new roles in the manufacturing, engineering, and construction sectors

He added: “The government has an experienced rapid reaction team which helps those facing redundancy to get back into work quickly.

“I have asked for this team to be deployed immediately and the department for work and pensions assures me that this is already happening. All possible avenues will be explored to retain as many jobs as possible and, where needed, to help people with finding new jobs.”

Last night, leaders of South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership spoke of their disappointment at the decision and also pledged to support staff in their quest to find new jobs.

Meanwhile, a government spokesperson at the department for business innovation and skills said it would speak to the EDP Top100 company about whether the restructure would have an impact on its RGF supported projects.

Group Lotus made a £167.8m net loss in 2013.

• Have you been affected by the decision? Contact business editor Ben Woods on 01603 772426 or email ben.woods@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • Moved to Norfolk from Cheshunt with Lotus back in the sixties just like a lot of others who joined the company from Ford Motor Co., a dream job, milk and honey, you name it and the promises flowed! 12 months later, surprise surprise, yes that's right, we were all made redundant as we broke for the annual two weeks summer holiday, impeccable timing! So nearly 50 years later and nothing has changed.

    Report this comment

    blackdog2

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Andy , i entirely agree with your "Sink hole for taxpayers money. Made a few people rich before closing their doors." and "Don't throw good money after bad. " - those are the best descriptions I've read of Richard Bacon for a long while. Once again I see he's kept his eye off thh ball and missed this problem coming up, just like he did with Syfer. I'd like the press to do a full investigation into what he has done for his constituency, it's economy and jobs, in the last 4 years. Notably he has managed to claim more in expenses than virtually every other MP in the whole East of England. No wonder they call him Emperor Nero.

    Report this comment

    john smith

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Don't throw good money after bad. It costs more to keep this dead weight afloat than if it was closed. Taxpayers should not subsidise this loss making company. For a company losing money year on year, there are still highly paid people at the top running around in expensive cars. Produce something people want and can afford, and maybe their fortunes would be different.

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • A hammer blow for the workforce.Never has a local non-union workforce needed a union more.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Sink hole for taxpayers money. Made a few people rich before closing their doors. Build cars people want and more importantly can afford. Don't use taxpayers to fund production of high end vehicles that aren't selling..

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Remember De Loreon??

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Why we should be surprised at this news? Lotus has been a loss making business for years, kept alive only by the investment from its various parent companies over the years and latterly, by the ill-advised gift of over £10m of tax payers money. How even the hapless Vince Cable could have agreed to waste £10m on this doomed company, I do not know. The figures speak from themselves, in 2013 £167,000,000 declared loss – cars sold 607 – that’s a loss of £276,441 per car sold! Unfortunately, even if they get rid of 325 staff, it will only save a fraction of what they need to save to even approach break-even. The sooner that this loss making ‘enterprise’ is put out of its misery the better - return the land to agriculture and at least they would make a profit out of the site.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Anyone remember DeLoreon? Swallowed up vast amount of tax payers money and made some managers very rich before going down the pan. Sounding familiar...

    Report this comment

    Andy T

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • For years and years Lotus has been boom and bust,with redundancies one after the other. No one should be surprised at this it follows a pattern.

    Report this comment

    Norfolkman

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • So the government (we the tax payer) give lotus £10m to employ people and they make people redundant, one where has the money gone...two do they give it back!

    Report this comment

    Janeway

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Wasn't it the case that the reported 'record' numbers of vehicles being built earlier in the year only served to flood the new dealerships that were created in areas of the world Lotus hadn't previously been exposed too ............ can't say I like the phrase "For the time being" .......... I fear for the long term future of Lotus

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • Questions need to be asked as to why was a £10 Million grant from the Regional Growth Fund was given to lotus last year to create over over 300 jobs locally? This is nothing short of scandalous.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Friday, September 19, 2014

  • im afraid this is the same old story repeating itself again if you look back over the last few years at the history of lotus it has had some good times and good investments then when that money has been spent its back to cutting back on staff and asking for more handouts in a years time it will be in the news that they will be employing 300 new workers because they have new cars to build mark my words

    Report this comment

    i am mostly wrong??

    Friday, September 19, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

Yesterday, 19:42

Festive spirit was flowing freely in a market town this weekend.

Thu, 07:00

A Post Office is due to start operating at a convenience store in Attleborough’s High Street today following a controversial move from the nearby post office building.

Wed, 16:04

A former pupil at Attleborough High School has landed his big break after becoming the latest doctor to join the team at Holby City hospital.

Tue, 15:36

Master chef Richard Hughes is used to training up-and-coming cooks, but rarely is his team as fresh-faced as this.

Most Read

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It was its down-at-heel aura that first attracted Polly Grieff to the crumbling Old Manor at Saham Toney.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:30

An entrepreneur who gave a makeover to a 300-year-old pub is now providing makeovers for her customers inside it.

Read more
Watton

An attempt to revive a Breckland heritage site has failed after dwindling visitor numbers forced the owners to close the attraction.

Read more
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The new police investigation centre for King’s Lynn and the Fens opens on Thursday.

Read more
Fri, 12:01

A man has been jailed for trying to smuggle a mobile phone and cannabis into a Norfolk prison.

Read more
Watton

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: -1°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wymondham and Attleborough Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up