Contract loss puts lens firm jobs in jeopardy

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

JOBS will be lost after a company failed to have a major contract renewed.

For five years Hoya Lens UK Ltd, which employs 320 people at Wrexham Industrial Estate, has supplied a quarter of all spectacle lenses sold by Boots Opticians.

Under industrial legislation the competitor firm which has landed the Boots contract, French-owned Ellisor International, must take on everyone at Hoya working on it.

Hoya has refused to say how many staff will be involved as negotiations with the other company are still in progress.

But it is certain the jobs will be lost to Wrexham.

The UK arm of Ellisor has plants in Bristol and Birmingham but a spokesman said these would not be taking on the Hoya contract, which had been won by Ellisor International, based in Paris.

This puts a question mark over how many staff from Wrexham would be able or willing to transfer abroad.

Hoya managing director Martin Batho said: “We are particularly disappointed in the outcome of our negotiations given the key driver for us was to secure jobs in Wrexham.

“We are unable to comment at the moment regarding the potential impact that this has on our employees as the matter is subject to the terms of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

“Our objective now is to ensure any employees affected by this decision are provided with all the assistance they need to come to terms with the implications of the legislation.

“We continue to focus on growing the independent opticians sector of the UK opthalmic market and our long-term strategy is to continue to invest in the Wrexham facility and local workforce to achieve our objectives.”

Mr Batho said transfer of the contract to Ellisor would happen later this year and details of how many Hoya staff are affected will be known within weeks.

He added that while the Boots contract was a “significant” amount of business to lose, the Wrexham factory was in no danger of closure.

No one from Ellisor International was available for comment.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas, in whose constituency Hoya is, said he was very sorry to hear this news.

He added: “The position is complex but it is important that staff receive as much support as possible.

“Loss of any jobs at this difficult time is very serious indeed.”

See full story in the Leader

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