Job losses 'inevitable' at Royal Crown Derby months after takeover of historic company
THE new owner of Royal Crown Derby has admitted it anticipates making redundancies – to make the business "fit for the future".
Last December, Stoke-on-Trent ceramics manufacturer Steelite International completed a multi-million-pound deal to buy the historic Osmaston Road firm.
The Derby Telegraph reported that the thinking behind it was to give tableware maker Steelite a high-end product it would be able to sell to the world's most luxurious hotels, restaurants, cruise ships and palaces.
And, at the time, the new owner claimed that – although some reorganisation was likely to take place in the first quarter of 2013 – it wanted to retain the 170-strong Derby workforce.
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But a spokeswoman for Steelite International has now confirmed it is seeking volunteers for up to seven posts which "have been identified as potentially redundant".
But she said the firm did not anticipate any further redundancies.
She said: "Since acquiring Royal Crown Derby, Steelite International has been exploring ways of ensuring this iconic business is fit for the future.
"This process has included establishing appropriate staffing levels at Osmaston Road.
"Our aim is to make Royal Crown Derby a thriving business and, to achieve this, tough decisions have to be taken.
"It is, therefore, with regret that we anticipate a small number of redundancies are now inevitable, primarily within the offices at Royal Crown Derby."
The spokeswoman said consultations were still ongoing about the roles.
She added: "Once this difficult process is complete, we are confident that we can create a vibrant and successful future for Royal Crown Derby."
Harry Hockaday, general secretary of the Unity union, said: "It's obviously disappointing to hear they are considering redundancies but it appears to be a small number and they are seeking volunteers in the first instance.
"We were pleased with Steelite International's acquisition of the business and their intention to grow it so, hopefully, they can minimise the effect of this as best they can."