AN articulated truck maker has laid off dozens of short-term contract staff at its Peterlee factory.

The engineering firm Caterpillar has confirmed it has ended the contracts of workers employed through recruitment agency Randstad.

Caterpillar has refused to confirm the numbers involved, but it has been reported that up to 250 people have lost their jobs.

A company spokesman said: “Caterpillar notified Randstad of the need to release agency workers from the Peterlee, United Kingdom facility.

“This decision was made to realign production to demand and to maintain long-term competitiveness.”

The company declined to say how many jobs were involved saying it was not information it would disclose as part of its relationship with an agency supplier.

The Peterlee Caterpillar site is the worldwide source of Cat® Articulated Trucks and machines from the site are shipped to customers in the mining, construction and aggregate industries.