Tyne & Wear

AEI Cables in Birtley to cut 126 jobs

New Royal Navy aircraft carrier
Image caption In 2010 AEI won an £8m contract for work on the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier

More than 120 workers at a cable factory on Tyneside are to lose their jobs.

AEI Cables in Birtley, which employs about 350 people, makes cables for the defence and civil engineering sectors.

The company said that due to difficult trading conditions it was halting the manufacture of house wiring cables.

The 126 shop floor, office administration and sales jobs would go at its headquarters at Birtley. It will retain 200 other full-time employees.

The company will concentrate on its core markets in industrial and specialized products.

'Swift action'

Volatile raw material prices, particularly copper, and tough trading conditions have been blamed.

A company spokesman said: "We regret this difficult decision but we had to take swift action to save the jobs of as many people as possible."

The company said it would co-operate with the GMB union to make the restructuring process as smooth as possible.

However, the union had earlier said it was considering legal action after claiming the firm refused to consult over redundancies.

A GMB spokesman said: "It's very surprising that this has happened when manufacturing in this sector is apparently doing well.

"We were not consulted in any way about these redundancies and we have about 200 people still at the company who are now worried about their futures."

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