Lianhetech Seal Sands in Stockton-on-Tees could cut up to 120 jobs before Christmas or in New Year

Staff at Lianhetech Seal Sands, in Middlesbrough, were told of the potential job cuts at a meeting on Tuesday. Credit: Google

Between 90 and 120 workers at a plant in Stockton-on-Tees could lose their jobs before Christmas or at the start of the New Year.

Staff at the Lianhetech Seal Sands site, which produces chemicals for crop protection, were told in a meeting between staff, union representatives and managers on Tuesday 21 November.

Sources have told ITV News Tyne Tees that a key overseas customer that was going to be using a product, produced at the company’s Seal Sands site, has now pulled out and will be sourcing another product from China instead. The implication is that it is cheaper to source there.

A spokesperson from Lianhetech confirmed to ITV News: “Lianhetech Seal Sands today announces it is undertaking a restructuring exercise, which will include a reduction in the number of staff employed.  About 90-120 roles are potentially affected.

“We are encountering a sudden new business reality for our Seal Sands site. This is caused by changing market conditions, driven by competitiveness pressures, while also in a downturn within the global Crop Protection market."

They continued: “This is a bitter disappointment and concerning time for us all. It is an unavoidable step to ensure the future site competitiveness. We will start the consultation process today and work with the union and employee representatives to minimize the impact and strengthen the future of the site.

“Based on customer inquiries, available capacity and ongoing discussions we are confident we will be able to attract new products, however this will take time and we need to take a step back and address our cost structure and competitiveness, whilst we continue to enhance our competency and set up the site for future success.”

Workers were told there would be a 45-day consultation period and union officials have told ITV News the workers are “shocked” by the news and will be seeking to “mitigate” the redundancies.

Fazia Hussein-Brown, from Unite the Union, said: “They are still trying to process what has been a difficult announcement. My members thought this site was going to progress with opportunities due to the new build, but unfortunately the redundancies have been announced. 

“From a Unite perspective, we will be pushing for redundancy consultation meetings which will ensure that we seek recruitment freezes and also voluntary redundancies first and foremost and we will be looking for enhanced redundancy packages for any members that are looking at redundancy.” 

ITV News understands the redundancies will cut the company’s headcount by around a third.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...