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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Kangol jobs at risk as Cleator hat factory faces closure

Thirty three jobs are at risk at a west Cumbrian hat factory after its owners warned it could close.

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Skilled workforce: The Kangol site in Cleator where union reps have vowed to fight job cut plans

Bollman Headwear has begun a consultation on the future of its base at Cleator Mills, Cleator, warning that posts could go because of the economic downturn.

The US-owned company, famous for its Kangol range worn by stars like Samuel L Jackson, said its UK arm has not been profitable for years.

Operations manager Robert Tanti told the News & Star he and his team would do everything possible to try and save the factory and its workforce.

In a statement, Bollman said: “In the current economic climate, we need to ensure that all parts of the Bollman Group are profitable.

“For a number of years, our UK operations have been making a loss and unfortunately we now have to address it.

“Accordingly we have entered into consultation with our employees based in Cleator. A maximum of 33 jobs have been placed at risk. However, we remain optimistic that we will maintain a presence in the area and are committed to keeping as many jobs as are financially viable.”

Staff have been given a group consultation notice about their future, but redundancy proceedings have not been started.

Mr Tanti said staff were upset but determined fight on. He added: “Obviously staff are not happy and they are nervous about the future, but everyone is trying their best to make sure we keep as many jobs as possible here.

“We have a loyal and committed workforce and this is no reflection on them.

“No decisions have been made yet, the company is reviewing its entire operation.

“I have kept all staff informed of what’s going on; it’s not fair for people to be buying cars or booking holidays and not knowing what’s round the corner.

“I don’t expect a decision for at least four to five weeks.

“I expect no matter what happens there will be a work force here until the end of June.”

MLegg@cngroup.co.uk

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