Our city was built on clay, coal and steel and we’re rightly proud of our heritage. There isn’t anyone from the Potteries who isn’t a member of the Turnover club – checking backstamps wherever we are – even in our friend’s homes! Over 7,000 people work directly in our Potbanks across North Staffordshire with a further 13,000 working in the supply chain and in other parts of the country. Ceramics is in our blood, the sector has touched every family and we all have our favourite company and lines.
Which is why the closure of Dudson’s was such a devastating announcement. Devastating for the workforce. Devastating for their families and devastating for our community. To put it into context this month nearly 400 people were called into the canteen to be told that the 220 year old firm was closing with immediate effect.
312 people, our friends and neighbours, were asked to collect their things and leave the premises immediately without any indication of what was going to happen next. How they were going to get their redundancy payments, when would they get any monies owed and what’s happening with their pension.
We all live within three pay checks of struggling to pay our bills. Many people on the shop floor at Dudson’s were still paid weekly, so just as the Easter holidays begin families have been left with nothing to see them through. This announcement was the fourth major blow to our community since Christmas. With mass redundancies across the Potteries, namely at Wedgwood, Aegis and George Birchall, which followed on from other job losses across our local economy. So we have families who will be struggling this month, and we need to come together to support them and to bring new employers to the city.
Since the announcement at Dudson’s I’ve been working with the GMB Trade Union, the British Ceramics Confederation, the administrators, the Job Centre, the City Council, the CAB and others to ensure that people won’t slip through the net and that everyone will get the help they need. On Tuesday and Thursday this week, there are two Job’s Fairs for the workforce, with organisations present to make sure people can access the support they may need. I’m also working with the administrators and the GMB to make sure that the pension scheme is protected.
If you or your family are worried about anything after the Dudson’s closure then please do contact my office on 01782 454370 and we’ll do everything we can to get you the help you need.