DOZENS of workers at a chemical plant look set to lose their jobs after bosses announced it is to close.
The Baker Hughes’ chemical plant, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool, is to close at the end of the year with about 75 jobs at risk.
Workers have spoken of their shock at the news, which they say came totally out of the blue.
Bosses say as part of the proposal some of the existing workforce may be qualified and will be considered for positions at the Liverpool facility or other openings within Baker Hughes.
The plant will continue to operate at a reduced level to the end of the year and then close.
The Baker Hughes’ Hartlepool plant manufactures chemicals for the oilfield markets. But the firm says the decision has been taken after reviewing “current business conditions”.
It is based on the Tofts Farm Industrial Estate and has been operating for more than 20 years.
Staff were called in for an hour-long meeting yesterday morning and told of the decision.
One worker said: “Everybody is gutted with the news.
“There are young lads with mortgages to pay and this has come totally out of the blue.
“It is devastating and people were very angry.
“After the meeting everybody was sent home and we were told the site would be run down and then eventually closed.
“There was mention of job opportunities at Liverpool but that won’t be any good for some people.”
A spokeswoman for Baker Hughes said: “After recent reviews of current business conditions, Baker Hughes Limited is proposing to cease the manufacture of chemicals at its facility in Hartlepool and close the facility.
“We do intend to continue operations in Hartlepool at a reduced level through to the end of this year.
“We propose the consolidation of our two UK chemical manufacturing facilities in Liverpool.
“It is anticipated some members of the existing workforce at Hartlepool may be qualified and will be considered for positions at our Liverpool facility.
“We appreciate that this is a time of concern for our employees.
“We are committed to consulting with them in a sensitive, respectful and responsible manner.”