CF Fertilizers has announced to permanently shut their Ince plant in Cheshire as part of their restructuring of their UK operations. Hence, the closure of the fertilizer plant will lead to a loss of 350 jobs.

Increase gas prices in Europe

CF industries is the Britain’s largest fertilizer producer and carbon dioxide supplier to UK’s meat, beer and soft drinks sectors. Therefore, the closure of this plant means that the company will now have their complete focus at their manufacturing plant in Billingham, Teesside. The company closed the operations back in September last year due to soaring gas prices in Europe. Thus, increased prices made production of fertilizers uneconomical. However, the closure also affected a large portion of UK’s carbon dioxide supply. Carbon dioxide is a byproduct of fertilizer manufacturing process. Moreover, CF restored the operations at Billingham plant in October after deliberations with the UK government.

Company is looking to avoid redundancies

In addition, the fertilizer giant also announced a potential 33 redundancies at Billingham as part of restructuring. Moreover, there will be another loss of 55 jobs as the company will move some of their business activities to US. CF Fertilizers UK is anticipating that some of the proposed redundancies might be avoided by redeployment opportunities. Therefore, the company will enter into collective redundancy consultation with their recognized union. “The people and facilities that make up CF Fertilizers UK are part of a proud, 100-year history of providing customers in the UK with products vital to the country’s food security and industrial activity. However, as a high-cost producer in an intensely competitive global industry, we see considerable challenges to long-term sustainability from our current operational approach.”  Brett Nightingale, managing director, CF Fertilizers UK said in a statement.

Union’s stance

However, The Unite union termed the proposed closure as a devastating blow for their members and the Cheshire economy. They will demand that all other alternatives are seriously considered to keep the factory open and retain jobs. Regional coordinating officer Mick Chalmers expressed his stance on the closure.

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