Confusion around closure of Northampton factory as 115 employees lose their jobs before Christmas

More than 100 employees at a factory in Northampton have lost their jobs just days before Christmas with confusion surrounding the closure.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:00 am

Staff at the former Epwin Glass factory on Lodge Farm Industrial Estate were told the firm was going into administration during a three-minute meeting on Wednesday (December 11).

Since then, the 115 members of staff who have been laid off have had no paperwork confirming their redundancies so they cannot claim benefits and no sign of administrators being appointed.

A spokesman for the owners has confirmed the closure to the Chronicle & Echo as it has been 'impossible' to make it profitable despite cash injections and new products.

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Angry former employees at the old Epwin Glass, now Panoglass, factory in Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, Northampton
Angry former employees at the old Epwin Glass, now Panoglass, factory in Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, Northampton

Around 20 ex-employees gathered outside the factory yesterday (Friday) in the search for answers but could not find any while the gates were locked.

"No one has received any letters, no one has any information at all. I spoke to the manager and he doesn't have any information," one employee who wished to remain anonymous said.

The Epwin site in Lodge Way, which makes sealed-unit double-glazing, was bought by The Panoramic Group in January but none of the signage has changed.

Angry ex-staff members outside the factory said the lack of documentation meant they could not to the job centre or claim benefits.

The gates are locked on the old Epwin Glass, now Panoglass, factory in Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, Northampton

"There are a couple who have worked here for years and are having to rely on a foodbank to eat as they have got no income," another employee said.

Others could not help but feel suspicious as there were still lorries coming and going at the factory and there were still some people inside when they assumed all work had stopped.

The manager has stopped answering their calls as he says he knows nothing more than what he has already told them, they added.

A spokesman for Panoglass, which owns the factory, said: “Despite significant and ongoing injections of cash since we acquired the company a year ago, it has been impossible to bring Panoglass Ltd to profitability and the decision to place the company into administration to stem substantial losses became inevitable.

The old Epwin Glass, now Panoglass, factory in Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, Northampton

“Although the company had introduced a number of innovative new products together with advanced manufacturing and management processes, the UK market for insulated glass units remains difficult in terms of fluctuating demand and the ongoing conflict between low prices and demands for ever higher quality and service, something that is well documented and which has brought a number of other similar companies to their knees.

"We regret that we too have been unable to overcome the deeply rooted difficulties facing this sector."

The spokesman added there will be further announcements in due course.

The old Epwin Glass, now Panoglass, factory in Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, Northampton