A Sandvik machine tools manufacturing plant near Wolverhampton is to close in a move that will result in the loss of 143 jobs.
The Swedish firm, which employs 47,000 globally, is to close the Featherstone facility where it manufactures cutting edges for tools and machines by the end of 2014 in a bid to reduce costs.
The site, built in 1932 before Sandvik took ownership in 1981, has the smallest production volume of any of the Scandinavian company’s European plants.
In a statement, Sandvik said: “The company very much regrets the need for this action and has begun discussions with the Unite union which represents many of the workers.”
Its global production director Richard Harris added: “Our biggest focus is to support employees facing redundancy in finding alternative employment.”
Consultation with the workforce has already begun and unite regional officer Andy Taylor said the move is a blow to everyone concerned.
“This is a hammer blow to the workforce, their families, the West Midlands economy and manufacturing capacity in the UK generally,” he said.
“The 143 jobs at risk are good skilled jobs. While this is still a proposal, many employees with long and dedicated service were deeply shocked and stunned by the announcement.”
The company also runs two additional UK sites in its hard materials factory in Coventry and headquarters in Halesowen, neither of which will be affected by the cuts.