St Ives plant to close with loss of 33 jobs

MORE than 30 people look set to lose their jobs at a St Ives engineering firm as its work is being transferred to eastern Europe.

Kn�rr Ltd, of Burrel Road, makes bespoke data racks for holding banks of computer hardware.

It is part of US group Emerson Network Power, which operates at sites around the world, including the Czech republic.

But it now intends to close its St Ives-based engineering firm to save costs – despite employees’ claims that the Cambridgeshire firm has achieved some of its best results since it was re-branded as Kn�rr about eight years ago.

One employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Hunts Post: “The order books are full – for the rest of this month and for November. There would be plenty of projects in the pipeline but it’s all going to the Czech Republic because it’s cheaper.

“We have been one big happy family here and we have even had to take on agency people to help with the workload.

“This has come out of the blue. Just two weeks ago the MD praised everyone for their hard work as we had recorded the second best financial year [which ends in September] ever, but now we’re being told we’re not making enough profit.”

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Kn�rr’s 42 employees were told of the decision, which will could see sales staff retain their jobs and 33 others made redundant, last Tuesday (October 11).

A spokesman for the parent group said yesterday (Tuesday): “Following a review of its European manufacturing strategy and in light of challenging business conditions, Emerson Network Power has proposed the transfer of manufacturing activities currently taking place at St Ives for its Kn�rr business to the Emerson facility at Volyne, Czech Republic.

“The result of this proposal is that the manufacturing facility at St Ives UK will close with the loss of approximately 33 jobs.

“Emerson Network Power is in consultation with affected employees in relation to the proposal. Subject to consultation, the proposal is that the St Ives production and logistics and affiliated jobs will close by the end of December 2011. The company plans to retain a sales and support presence for its Kn�rr business in the UK.”