Brickworks Extinguished by Fuel Cost and Chinese Imports
About 50 jobs are to go at Dyson Refractories brickworks near Bishop Auckland in County Durham.
The plant has suffered from a combination of rampantly rising fuel prices and cheaper Chinese imports and will cease production in two months' time.
Unions met managing director John Casewell yesterday and have accepted closure is inevitable. Dysons supplies bricks to the steel industry, where they are used to line kilns, but customers such as Corus have cut its orders.
Mr Casewell said: "We will stop production at the brickworks in early to mid-March.It's down to a lack of volume.
"We have to run the kiln here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it always uses the same amount of energy, but we have only been producing 50 or 60% of the volume we should be. And some days last month, we were paying four times more for gas than we were back in October.
"The price went from 40p per therm to 95p in November, and then for one or two days in December it was at 170p ( always over pounds 1 ( and they are forecasting the price being at high levels right through to March. …