Dozens of Littlehampton workers 'will lose jobs days before Christmas'

Advanced Energy in Hawthorn Road, Wick. Picture: Google Maps
Advanced Energy in Hawthorn Road, Wick. Picture: Google Maps

A global company is set to make dozens of people redundant in its Littlehampton offices just before Christmas.

Advanced Energy will be cutting 25 per cent of its workforce at the offices in Hawthorn Road, Wick - approximately 45 positions, according to Paul Oldham, chief financial officer for the company.

According to a memo sent to staff in October which was leaked to the Littlehampton Gazette, staff would be notified by December 7 if they were to be made redundant, and the proposed leaving date was December 21.

The reason for the proposed redundancies was because it had 'to balance capacity across worldwide operations', including Shenzhen in southeastern China, the memo said.

Mr Oldham said the reduction in Littlehampton was 'driven by global customer needs and business requirements' but the Wick branch would continue to serve as a 'a regional hub for R&D, service, management, administrative, product development and engineering of our High Voltage product line'.

He said: "These types of decisions are never easy, and Advanced Energy is dedicated to ensuring a transparent process for all affected employees and continuing to create a quality working environment for all our employees."

A staff member at the Littlehampton branch told the Gazette that the atmosphere at the branch was 'a bit like a funeral parlour': "Everyone's concerned about the future. To be laid off days before Christmas is terrible really."

They said two years ago Advanced Energy had a recruitment drive across the country, and many people left long-term jobs with a promise of career progression.

According to the memo, employees made redundant will receive statuatory redundancy pay if they have two or more years' complete service, accrued holiday, and pay in lieu of their notice as outlined in their contracts.

The staff member claimed the redundancy pay would be substantially less than what many of them would have received at their previous jobs, and that what was being offered was not enough. They said: "It is disgraceful how we have been treated; they have let us believe there was a long-term future here but the reality is very different."

They called for fellow staff members to get their MPs and MEPs involved.