TV giant to axe 100 East Anglian jobs

The last major television manufacturer in the UK last night confirmed plans to axe up to 100 jobs at its East Anglian factory because of competition from cheap imports.

The last major TV manufacturer in the UK last night confirmed plans to axe up to 100 jobs at its East Anglian factory because of cheap imports.

Sanyo UK is today due to tell workers at its Lowestoft base of the devastating pre-Christmas news, which will slash the workforce by a third.

In a statement, the company said drastic action was needed because the market was being flooded by cheap goods, primarily from Turkey and China.

However, it added it was determined to maintain production in Lowestoft and would concentrate on selling products designed for business, such as video con-ferencing and large-screen TVs for sports stadiums, airports and shopping centres.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard spoke of his disappointment at the announcement. He will seek an urgent meeting with company vice-president Noel Salmon. Mr Blizzard added: "It's very bad news, particularly at this time of the year . . . They are in a tough business. I want to discuss what the prospects might be and what we can do.

"I will also ask the Jobcentre Plus and the East of England Development Agency to set up a taskforce to assist the people who have lost their jobs."

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Sanyo first announced the prospect of job losses in March of this year and told staff that up to 150 posts could be lost at its School Road base.

Last night's statement said those selected for redundancy would hear their fate in letters sent out today.

It added: "It is extremely difficult to compete against products made in countries where salaries are often at levels of less that 10pc of ours.

"The company informed staff that up to 150 jobs would be lost. However, it is anticipated by the time the restructuring is finished the figure will be fewer than 100."

The company said redundancy payments would be above the recommended government level. It had arranged for Lowestoft College to provide training programmes designed to help staff gain new employment.

Mark Robinson, a regional officer for the workers' union Amicus, said: "We are disappointed that 100 jobs will be lost. We have to remember this is the last television manufacturer in the UK and we want to ensure production remains in Lowestoft.

"The timing is disappointing, but we want to work with the company over the next few weeks to try to reduce the number of redundancies even further.

Linda Thornton, chief officer of the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce, said: "There is considerable disap-pointment from the chamber at the decision Sanyo has made to make these redun-dancies, although we know it wasn't taken lightly. . ."