by Steve Barton
MORE than two thirds of the 81-strong workforce at a well-established Haverhill wood finishing manufacturer could lose their jobs after the company announced it was downsizing its operations.
In a shock announcement to staff at its ten-acre Rookwood Way site, Becker Acroma outlined plans to move to a new, smaller premises in nearby Homefield Road Business Park, a change that will see up to 55 redundancies made across all areas of the company.
Entirely Swedish-owned and Europe's market leader in wood finishes such as paints, lacquers and stains, Becker Acroma's parent company is the AB Wilhelm Becker group, which in turn is owned by Lindengrupen AB.
A statement from the company said the move formed part of its global strategy to rationalise its European-based production facilities.
Becker Acroma's managing director Jonathan Robson said: "This new facility better meets both our needs and those of our customers and we are pleased to be able to remain in Haverhill.
"We expect to be at our new site by the end of December.
"As a result of the change there will need to be a reduction in the staffing requirement and in consequence, it is regrettable that by way of this announcement Becker Acroma Ltd is giving notice that a number of jobs may unfortunately have to be made redundant."
A 30-day consultation period began with staff representatives on Monday, to discuss how the redundancies will be made and support is being made available for those affected.
Staff will be invited to apply for positions at the company's new factory, which will be phased in over the coming months, with redundancies taking place from the first week of October.
Paints and other forms of coating have been made at the Rookwood Way factory since 1962, first as Langston, Smith and Jones and then Signpost Paints before being taken over by Becker Acroma.
The company added that despite the changes it would continue to make the same products and provide the same services to its customers.