MANUFACTURING unions warned photographic giant Kodak yesterday that they will not sit back and watch the "deindustrialisation of Britain" after the company axed 600 jobs.
Kodak plans to shut its photo film finishing plant at Annesley near Nottingham with the loss of 350 jobs and close part of its operations at its site in Harrow, Middlesex, reducing the 1,350-strong workforce by 250 people.
The Annesley factory will close in a year's time, while the Middlesex cuts will take place by March, with Harrow eventually becoming the headquarters for all of Kodak's British operations.
The company claimed that it is looking to reduce its global facilities by about one-third over three years, because there is a "fundamental shift in customer and consumer behaviour" taking place in the face of the rising popularity of digital photography.
However, T&G and amicus pointed out that the redundancy proposals are in direct conflict with Kodak's recent policy of moving production out of the US, with the news appearing to signal an intention by the firm to move jobs from Britain to the US.
Amicus official Joe McGowan said that the shop stewards are fully committed to supporting every single one of their members in Harrow and Annesley.
He said that neither union could countenance this latest blow to Britain's beleaguered manufacturing base.
T&G branch secretary Peter Allsopp agreed, saying: "Not one union member in Kodak will be forced to walk the plank because of the company's proposals.
"We will ensure that any job losses will be on a voluntary basis first for our Harrow members," he added.
T&G national secretary for manufacturing Jim Mowatt said that the news was "a direct consequence of the economic policy of 'Tony and the Blairnisconis'" and the government's failure to protect the sector.
But Kodak managing director Peter Blackwell said that the simple fact is that customer and consumer preferences are changing and demand for traditional products such as film and paper has fallen with the rising popularity of digital photography.
"These have been difficult decisions to take and are no reflection on the highly valued work performed by our employees," he claimed.
Fire Minister Brandon Lewis probably had a fair idea what Sir Ken Knight would deliver when he asked him to conduct an "independent" report into fire and rescue services in England.
As LGBT activists worldwide celebrate anti-homophobia day we are reminded of prevailing prejudice
Bradford has seen the launch of a new campaign to battle the sources of child sex exploitation - and combat far-right bids to make it a racial issue