100 jobs to go as factory closes and operation moves to Scotland
AN IVYBRIDGE factory is to close with the loss of 100 jobs as its owner transfers operations to Scotland.
Paper mill Arjowiggins at Stowford Mill will close in 2014 under proposals announced today.
The company has blamed a decline in sales in Europe, and will transfer most of its operations to Stoneywood Mill in Aberdeen.
Staff will be offered the opportunity to transfer from the South Devon site, which makes printing and writing paper.
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A spokesman said: "Arjowiggins regret to announce a proposal to transfer production of security and fine papers from their Stowford Mill in Ivybridge, mainly to their Stoneywood Mill."
Chairman of Ivybridge Chamber of Commerce, Richard Peachey, said the loss of the town centre's largest employer after the college would have a serious impact.
He said: "There have been rumours that the factory would lose jobs or close for some time but to hear it as reality is a serious blow for Ivybridge."
As well as being bad news for those directly involved, Mr Peachey said the closure would have a knock-on effect for the town.
He said: "Not only does Arjowiggins use local businesses, the people who work there shop in the town centre as it is within walking distance - other businesses wil feel the effect of this closure and it is clearly something we are going to have to discuss and plan for."
Mr Peachey said the chamber, along with the town council and South Hams District Council, would look at the support they could offer to those involved.
He said this would include 'beefing up' schemes already in place such as workshops and mentoring deigned to help people find employment.
Mr Peachey said the factory had a lengthy history in Ivybridge - it was built on the site of a former woollen mill 150 years ago - and had produced quality paper thanks to water running off granite on Dartmoor - but he said Aberdeen had a similar geography.
A spokesman for Arjowiggins said: "The proposal is in no way related to the performance of Stowford Mill and its employees.
"It is a credit to the commitment of employees who have worked hard to keep the Mill operational during the last decade or so, during which many similar small, long-established paper mills have closed."
Staff and unions will now enter a period of consultation.