Thursday, July 25, 2024

Dyson: Wiltshire Council frustration over no warning for job cuts

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By Karen GardnerBBC Radio Wiltshire • Sarah TurnnidgeBBC News, West of England

Dyson  General view of Dyson campus in Malmesbury. Dyson

Up to a third of Dyson’s UK workforce will be cut

A council leader is “extremely frustrated” over a lack of notice surrounding huge job cuts at engineering giant Dyson.

The British-founded company announced on Tuesday it planned to cut up to a third of its UK workforce to ensure it was “prepared for the future”.

The news of 1,000 potential redundancies has sparked huge concern in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where the company is the main employer.

Wiltshire Council leader Richard Clewer told BBC Radio Wiltshire: “It would have helped us even to have had a few hours notice”.

Dyson, best known for inventing the bag-less vacuum cleaner currently has 3,500 UK employees, with offices in Wiltshire, Bristol and London.

Richard Clewer, pictured wearing a dark three-piece suit, pink shirt and tie.

Richard Clewer said Wiltshire Council was not given any notice of redundancies

Notice would have enabled to the council to “get staff pulled together, to be able to deal with this front foot rather than having to rush to catch up,” Mr Clewer added.

Dyson’s decision to cut jobs in the UK comes after long-running criticism from founder Sir James Dyson of economic policy in the UK, and follows a move of company headquarters to Singapore in 2019.

The company, which also makes air purifiers and hair dryers among other appliances, is still highly profitable. It increased its research and development spending by 40% last year.

Phil Exton, Mayor of Malmesbury, pictured in front of a Town Council sign.

Phil Exton said the news was “very bad” for Malmesbury

Phil Exton, mayor of Malmesbury, said he also was not given any notice of the redundancies.

“It is obviously going to be very bad for the town,” he said.

“We are a town where all the shops are independents. They’re not national brands that have lots of backing behind them, and so the loss of footfall and people shopping in their shops is going to be quite bad for them.”

Two councillors have spoken about the need for reassurance from Dyson – for support to be given to employees and the wider community, as well as honouring existing commitments.

In January Wiltshire Council gave the go-ahead for a £6 million donation from Sir James to expand a Malmesbury primary school with a new science, technology, engineering, art and maths centre.

Wiltshire councillor Gavin Grant said he needs to know people affected by redundancy, and their families, “are going to be looked after properly”.

Mr Grant added: “We want an action plan (from Dyson) to make sure Malmesbury, its business community and the wider community is going to be properly supported, and the commitments that have been made to the school are going to be honoured by the Dyson Foundation.”

Councillor Martin Smith said: “We need to seek reassurances from Dyson that it is going to do its level best to help these people who are impacted to be redeployed to other jobs in the area because we can’t lose these skilled people – they are vital to the country’s future.”

Dyson has stated the announcement is a business decision, not a political one, and a result of its global review.

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