Axe poised over 115 jobs at Shelf company

Environment Awards. Picture shows Lindsey Parnell  - InterfaceFLOR
Environment Awards. Picture shows Lindsey Parnell - InterfaceFLOR

UP to 115 jobs are at risk after a carpet-tile maker announced plans to close its Shelf factory in a bid to save £4 million a year.

InterfaceFLOR has entered a 30-day consultation with workers and the union Unite over plans to stop manufacturing and distribution at Shelf Mills.

Treasure Hunt pic'Interface FLOR, Shelf

Treasure Hunt pic'Interface FLOR, Shelf

Lindsey Parnell, president and chief executive of the company in Europe, said the decision was made with regret but there was a strong business case for the proposed closure. He said: “Our recent investment in state-of-the-art production technology has considerably increased our capacity but unfortunately the market has not grown to the same degree.

“Now, by consolidating our European manufacturing operations in to a smaller number of sites and taking advantage of our recent investments, we would be able to increase our efficiency and achieve annual cost savings in excess of £4 million.

“Given the challenging market conditions we face, we have to explore the savings this proposed rationalisation would provide.”

The firm plans to keep its UK headquarters in Shelf, where sales and marketing, design and development and other support staff are based. Facilities for producing custom samples would also remain.

The company employs 204 people at Shelf. Those whose jobs are on the line are mainly factory workers, plus a small number of office support staff.

The firm said it hopes to reduce the number of compulsory redundancies through voluntary redundancy and redeploying opportunities.

The Shelf factory was owned and run by Illingworth Carpets until InterfaceFLOR acquired the business in 1985.

It currently makes 1,600,000 square metres of carpet tiles every year, mainly for offices, schools and the public sector.

Under the proposals, production would move across to the company’s other two manufacturing sites in Europe – in Craigavon, Northern Ireland and Scherpenzeel in the Netherlands, where distribution would also be based.

The transition would take place over three phases, with 80 per cent of production at Shelf stopping at the end of March.

A limited number of activities would continue into the second quarter, and a small team would remain until the end of this year to prepare the site to be sold.