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Contracts blow for workers at Darlington engine maker Cummins
MORE than 100 temporary staff at a North-East engine manufacturer will not have their contracts renewed in the coming weeks ahead of an expected drop in orders.
Cummins in Darlington has reported strong demand for its diesel engines in the second half of the year as fleet buyers replenished their stocks before new emissions legislation comes into effect on January 1.
The firm said it had been "reluctant" to let staff go and it hoped some temporary workers would return to the Yarm Road plant, which employs 750 people, later in the year when demand picks up.
A Cummins spokesman said: "It is very unfortunate and we never do this type of thing lightly. We would like to keep these people on, but until we have clear sight of when demand will strengthen we made this decision for the good of the business."
They added: "Both the automotive an industrial markets are moving to new emissions levels in January, and a number of customers have decided to buy more of the current products in 2013 to ease the transition into the new, more technically complex products required in 2014. We took a small number of additional temps on solely for this with the understanding that the positions would go at the end of the year."
Overall Cummins has enjoyed a strong year. It is on target to make 46,000 engines in 2013 and it has secured new customers.
The firm is investing for the future with £1m-a-year being spent over the next three years to make the plant more efficient. The first stage will start in April when production lines will be turned off for a week to enable upgrading work.
In October, the firm announced it had secured its first contract to make low-emission engines for Scania buses.
"It proves that we are developing and manufacturing quality products that meet the needs of the most challenging customers, including those who manufacture their own engines," added the spokesman.
Furthermore, Cummins' Darlington exhaust plant, which employs 110, is in the running to supply the new London Routemaster buses.
A prototype of the next generation of the famous double-decker, which is painted silver rather than the trademark red, has been driving around the town as the company carried out tests.
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