ONE of the region’s largest employers has announced it will cut dozens of North-East jobs.

Gestamp Tallent on Aycliffe Business Park, in County Durham, told The Northern Echo it plans to make 59 roles redundant at the factory to cope with the collapse in demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

The firm, which employs around 1,000 people in the town, said the roles up for redundancy will be considered during a consultation process.

The Northern Echo:

A spokesperson from the firm said: “Yesterday we have taken the difficult step to commence consultations at each of our UK sites regarding the need to consider making a number of redundancies.

“This proposal is unfortunately in response to a reduction in demand for our products partially due to the impact of Covid-19.

“Our aim is to protect as much of our workforce and skill base as possible to ensure our business is fit and ready for the recovery in the automotive sector when it comes.

“During this consultation period, we will consider alternatives and to this aim, we shall be working closely with our employee representatives.”

Workers at the firm said they were devastated by the announcement and claimed they were told all staff would be subject to a ten percent pay cut.

The manufacturing business specialises in developing innovatively designed products to achieve safer and lighter vehicles.

Gestamp Tallent has been running for the last 20 years and has moved from being a small stamping company to a global firm operating in the main auto manufacturing hubs.

In the last few years, the business has been going from strength to strength and invested £43m into the business in 2018 but blamed Brexit for a slump in sales a year later.

Last month, the firm presented its results for the first three months of 2020 with revenues amounting to €2,011m despite the uncertain market environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the time, Gestamp’s executive chairman, Francisco J. Riberas said: “During Q1 2020 we have been able to manage the business fairly well despite the uncertain market environment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Gestamp has been applying security protocols and will continue to do so to guarantee the safety of our employees and operations as we restart operations.

“Gestamp is facing the Covid-19 crisis with a strong financial profile and enhancing its liquidity position and diversification of financial sources. We are implementing an action plan focused on cash preservation.

“The company is working on a proactive assessment of the different scenarios in order to adapt its long-term oriented strategy to the changing market environment, always keeping our clients at the centre of our business and focusing in the future.”