300 jobs at risk as SKF announces closure of Luton factory after more than 100 years in town

The company has been in the town for over 110 years
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Three hundred jobs are at risk as a manufacturing company in Luton has announced that it could close as early as next year.

Swedish manufacturing company SKF, which produces roller bearings, released details of plans today (May 31) that could see it move its operations to Poland.

The move to a factory in Poznan in Poland would be followed by the closure of its Sundon Park Road manufacturing site.

SKF building, Sundon Park Road, Luton.SKF building, Sundon Park Road, Luton.
SKF building, Sundon Park Road, Luton.

Manufacturing in Luton would be scaled down under new plans, with a full closure expected by the end of 2024.

Currently, there are over 300 people who work for SKF – which first set up in the town in 1910. It said it will invest in ‘automation and regionalisation’. SKF said it would keep its UK headquarters in the town, which employs 70 people.

Acting president for the industrial region of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Aldo Cedrone, said: “Although it is a difficult decision to make, this is an important step in securing our long-term competitiveness on the European markets.”

He said that to ensure the SKP’s spherical roller bearing production stays competitive, they need to invest in new machinery in Poznan. Mr Cedrone added: “Our immediate focus is to support our colleagues in Luton.”

Michael Crean, managing director for SKF (U.K.) Limited, explained that today was an “extremely sad day for the SKF team”, after more than 110 years of manufacturing by SKF in Luton. He said: “I would like to express my personal appreciation for the commitment and dedication our employees have shown. They can feel rightly proud of the achievements they have made.”

Mr Crean added: “I want to stress that the UK management team will strive to offer the right level of support to all employees.

“Looking to the next weeks, we will enter a formal consultation period to hear the views of our employees, their elected representatives and the union and explore any alternatives.” The proposed plans from SKF will be reviewed by employees and union representatives which it says it is fully committed to engaging with throughout the consultation process.

Under its original name the Skefko Ball Bearing Company Ltd, Luton was one of the company’s first hubs outside of Sweden.

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