Dozens of jobs at risk at Hull's Crown Paints
UP TO 60 jobs are believed to be at risk at an iconic Hull paint manufacturer.
A 90-day consultation has been launched at Crown Paints as a result of a multi-million-pound investment in new technology.
The investment, which Crown says is "key" to it remaining at the forefront of the industry, will effectively speed up the process of filling cans with paint.
Crown Paints has a manufacturing site in Sculcoates Lane, Hull, as well as Darwen in Lancashire.
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The company would not confirm how many jobs are at risk, or how long the consultation period would last.
However, union representatives say it could be up to 70 jobs across its two manufacturing sites.
Dave Oglesby, full-time officer with the GMB union in Hull, said: "I am due to meet with Crown this week.
"I understand it is a 90-day consultation with up to 60 job losses in Hull.
"That is approximately 35 per cent of the workforce at the Hull plant."
About ten people are set to be made redundant at the Darwen facility. Union members there say they believe most of these will be voluntary.
Pete Hollings, who works at the Darwen site, said: "The GMB union is, as always, working with management to minimise the effect on a very skilled and dedicated workforce."
Crown Paints has been manufacturing in Hull for more than 200 years.
The company was founded in 1811 as Blundell and Spence, a partnership between former Lord Mayor of Hull Henry Blundell and his brother-in-law William Spence.
Back then, it manufactured paint in a factory on the corner of Spring Bank and Beverley Road.
Still referred to as Blundell's Corner, this site is today occupied by the Mail.
Crown Paints is now owned by Danish decorative and protective coatings company Hempel and employs more than 1,250 people across the UK, including more than 180 at its factory in Sculcoates Lane.
In June, it opened a new logistics hub at its Hull plant following a £1.2m investment, creating a further 70 jobs.
The hub, which is staffed and managed by CEVA Logistics, is not believed to be affected by the consultation.
Speaking about the investment in new technology, Joe Devitt, managing director of Crown Paints, said: "This represents a significant capital investment into Crown Paints and will be key to not only securing the future of the business but enabling us to build on our strong position.
"The UK decorative paint market continues to be a highly competitive, low growth environment.
"With the strength of the Crown Paints brand and our heritage, we are in a strong position but we continually have to look forward and prepare for the future.
"This investment is key to our ongoing bid to remain competitive and at the forefront of the industry.
"Inevitably increased efficiencies will result in organisational change and restructuring, and we will be entering into a period of consultation with the employees concerned."