79 people are made redundant at a Hartlepool forge, the Mail has been told

Caparo Forging. Picture By FRANK REID
Caparo Forging. Picture By FRANK REID

Almost 80 workers at a steel forge have been made redundant, the Hartlepool Mail has been told.

Staff at Caparo in Brenda Road revealed they were called to a mass meeting this morning and given the devastating news that the plant was shutting with immediate effect and 79 people were losing their jobs.

Alan Clark.

Alan Clark.

Today, the forge’s Unite shop steward Alan Clark said: “Some of the lads feel like they have been thrown on the scrapheap.

“They don’t know what is next for them.”

Mr Clark has worked at the plant for ten years as a stamper, but others have been there for 40 years - and many were family people with mortgages to pay, he said.

He said staff were told at the mass meeting that there had been three options for the company.

One was to find a buyer - and there was interest in the company, said Mr Clark. The second was mothballing the plant.

The third was liquidation and that was the option which was being taken, workers were informed.

But Mr Clark described the move as “industrial vandalism.”

He said: “This site could have been saved. They say it is symptomatic of the industry and the fall in steel prices but the fall in steel prices benefited this site.

“We don’t manufacture steel. We make parts from steel.

“This site has operated at a surplus for 17 out of the last 18 months.”

Administrators acting for Caparo Industries, which has a site in Brenda Road, earlier confirmed that workers were being briefed on the company’s trading position.

Caparo employs people at a site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool as well as 1,700 across the country.

Today, a spokesman for administrators from PwC, said: “Following their appointment the administrators have worked closely with customers, suppliers, employees and their representatives, including three trade unions who represent the Caparo Industries Group workforce.

“Today, a trading and administration update is being provided to employees and their representatives across those businesses in the Caparo Industries Group over which PwC are appointed.

“No further comment will be made until that update has been provided to all of the employees.

“A further announcement will be provided later today.”

Earlier this month, Matt Hammond, lead administrator and partner at PwC, described Caparo as “a significant business with a wide range of interests across steel, engineering, vehicles products and technologies. Its scale and reach into significant customers and its importance to suppliers cannot be understated. We will be rapidly assessing all options for the businesses through this week and beyond.”

He added: “The impact of steel prices and exchange rates has had an impact on some parts of the Caparo Industries group. However there are businesses in the group that are not directly affected by steel prices, and likewise many where there is both strong customer demand and critical supplier support.”