In controversial, the Government has entrusted the future of the printing of the new blue passports Franco-Dutch company Gemalto – work that has since been entrusted to Poland.
Unite the union, which represents the entire workforce Of The Street, the factory in Gateshead,is urging the company to reconsider the move, which puts 255 skilled workers in the region, at the risk of redundancy.
In its annual report, Of The Street, said: “In June 2020, we announced a consultation process to begin shortly on a proposal to stop the printing of bank notes at our Gateshead site and we will begin to engage in collective consultation with affected employees.
“Under the proposal, the Company must maintain certain basic services and roles on the site.
“The purpose of the consultation process, we expect that the banknote printing operations cease at Gateshead by the end of this calendar year.
“In addition, the united KINGDOM Passport operations, also in Gateshead, to stop its activities during the 1st semester 2020/21 that the contract transfers to a new supplier.”
“We remain committed to a strong growth in Currency business, and will continue to print banknotes in the united KINGDOM as well as at its international sites. Following a period of transition and re-location of the equipment in Gateshead to other sites, the proposal ensures that The Street have the same or more capacity than today, but it works with four currency printing factories, down from five years.
“This transition period is expected to be completed by the end of H2 2020/21. The consultation period is expected to last a minimum of 45 days.
“We intend to give regular updates on the progress of our recovery plan through our web site.”
The Street of the ad is it revealed plan to raise £100m in equity after the publication of full-year accounts, showing the fall in revenues and profits, with sales tumbling 17% to £426.7 m and adjusted operating profit fall by 61% to € 23,7 mr.
When the Street has been the production of the united KINGDOM, the passports, there were more than 500 workers in the employment of the Gateshead site.
Unite said that last year, the closure of a line of 170 workers, and a further 80 workers will be laid off in this month of passport production finally ends.
The union argued that the UK should follow the example of other countries and production of passports should be a matter of national security and exempt from the standard bidding process.
The Gateshead plant has long been regarded as a flagship site, and the faithful labor has often travelled overseas to provide specialized training, as the company expanded abroad.
Unite assistant general secretary of the manufacturing of Steve Turner said: “Unite has feared this announcement since The Street has been refused a UK passport contract in 2018.
“Unite believes that the printing of united KINGDOM passports is a matter of national security, and this contract should never have been allowed to go abroad.
“No other big European country would allow their passports to be printed abroad. Our government talks a lot about ‘control’ and the protection of united KINGDOM interests, but has still not walking and to go beyond soundbites to practical action to support jobs and communities.
“Since the government’s decision to off-shore UK passport production, the long-term viability of the Gateshead site and other skilled jobs it provides to the north-east have been at risk.
“It cannot be acceptable that the UK jobs are being lost in part because the production of the national currency moves abroad.
“It is now imperative that the government steps to ensure that the site is preserved and that the contract for printing of passports returned to the united KINGDOM as a matter of urgency.”
Unite regional officer Tom Usher added: “Unite has been aware for a long time that, except For The Street invested in Gateshead and other production opportunities of the site, our members, jobs would be at risk.
“The company has chosen not to do so, but this is not the time to announce job cuts, this decision has to be paused and re-examine it. The Street of the workforce, which has worked throughout the pandemic, although other sites have been discontinued, deserve to be treated better than this.
“Unite is doing everything possible to support and represent our members during this stressful period.”