MORE than 60 North-East workers face redundancy at an engineering firm.

Esco Corporation is closing its foundry in Guisborough, east Cleveland.

The move means 65 workers will lose their jobs.

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Staff found out in a meeting with management today (Tuesday, September 2).

The foundry is expected to close in November.

Last night, Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough south and east Cleveland, said he will hold talks with the company, workers and trade union officials to help staff find new jobs.

Esco blamed the tough construction industry for the decision, saying the ongoing sluggish market triggered a sharp fall in demand for its products, which include teeth used on excavator buckets.

The US firm, which also makes heavy duty parts for mining, bought the foundry from William Cook Cast Products in 1997 to serve European customers, but said it is now running at less than half its capacity.

Mr Blenkinsop told The Northern Echo said: “This is a terrible blow for the workers and the local economy.

“We are hearing stories about the construction industry starting to bounce back and them we get this.

“Everyone knows someone who works at the foundry and my main concern is for the 65 people and how we can help them.

“I want to sit down with the company, workers and trade unions to see what we can do and overcome this in the best way we can.

“It’s vital we ensure opportunities are provided for retraining people so they have a chance to apply for jobs.”

Mr Blenkinsop also said it was important a buyer was secured for the foundry to retain industrial work in the town.

He added: “The site has been used for industrial purposes for some time and I want to see it used for that again.

“This is our bread and butter and what we are known for.”

Tim Myers, Esco’s president of its construction and industrial division, said the decision had been a difficult one.

He said: “This has been very hard for us because we have a very loyal and good workforce in Guisborough.

“We will be working with staff to help them get other positions.

“Global demand for construction products is down 30 per cent from its 2007 peak.

“Markets are showing signs of improvement, but we don’t see signs of a return to levels that justify continuing work at Guisborough.

“The markets have been significantly down since the crash and still are.

“We have excess manufacturing capacity at our locations around the world and the closure of this site will help realign our production with market conditions.

“As a company, we continue to excel at larger, highly engineered products.

“However, Guisborough produces smaller products where price and access to markets is critical.

“We cannot be cost competitive if we continue to manufacture these small products in a plant that is located far from our customers and running at partial capacity.”

Mr Myers added the move meant its construction division would leave the UK, though it is retaining its mining arm in south Yorkshire.