DOZENS of workers have been laid off at a Hartlepool brake pad manufacturer.
Bosses say 48 staff were given their notice yesterday at TMD Friction, on the Oakesway Industrial Estate.
They confirmed the news after the Hartlepool Mail received calls to say temporary workers had been told their jobs would finish at the end of yesterday’s shift.
Managing director Rob Sweetnam said: “I can confirm that the temporary workforce in TMD Friction Hartlepool is being reduced by 48.”
It will take workforce levels to 387 people.
The blow comes just months after TMD told the Mail that staff numbers were on the increase.
In January last year, the company announced it was shifting production to a six-day operation to meet customer needs at the state-of-the-art 99,000 sq ft factory.
Bosses were also planning further investment in new machinery if competitiveness was maintained over the next two years.
Back then, staffing levels had steadily risen from a low of 324 to more than 400 between 2007 and 2010 and the company praised its “dynamic team and a world-class production culture” with further job boosts looking likely.
But Mr Sweetnam told the Mail why jobs were now being cut less than 18 months later.
He said: “The reason for this reduction is that the extraordinary increases seen in market demand from all over Europe in early 2010 have not been evident in 2011 and that the head count needs to stay aligned with production output.”
TMD is the world’s biggest manufacturer of original equipment brake friction parts, with manufacturing sites in countries including the UK, Germany, Brazil and China.
Its customers have included Porsche, Mercedes, Audi and BMW.
It also provides brake friction parts for many of Europe’s truck and trailer manufacturers.
In Hartlepool alone, the workforce produced 24.5m pieces of equipment a year by 2010.