David Davis seeks guarantees on Smith and Nephew jobs in Gilberdyke


As reported by the Hull Daily Mail:
Jobs ‘must not fall through cracks’ in Smith & Nephew move

SMITH & Nephew must not allow employees to “fall through the cracks” after selling a factory in Gilberdyke, MP David Davis has said.

The medical device manufacturer employs 91 people at the site at Gateway Business Park, where it produces polyurethane films for its wound dressings.

It also makes plastic nets and foams that are then sold onto other companies.

The factory is being bought by American firm DelStar Technologies, which will take on some employees and continue making the nets and foams.

Smith & Nephew will move the polyurethane side to its facility in Hessle Road, west Hull.
Gilberdyke is part of Mr Davis’s Haltemprice and Howden constituency.

He said: “I will speak to the incoming company and make sure they’re committed.

“Hopefully, not only will jobs be protected but jobs may be created at Gilberdyke.

“The real concern in the midst of all that is whether people fall through the cracks between the two businesses and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

A consultation has now been launched with factory staff, who were told of the changes on Tuesday.
Smith & Nephew would not be drawn on how many employees might be moved to Hull, or if any redundancies would be involved.

The company is already investing about £6.4m in its Hull site and it will also spend about £3.2m in the next two years as polyurethane production moves from Gilberdyke to the city.

Noel Waters, Smith & Nephew’s senior vice-president of global operations, said: “Our predominant need for the site was for our internal supplies and we couldn’t really invest, or weren’t willing to invest, in a third-party bulk net business.

“What we realised over many years of reviewing our manufacturing strategy was the non-core business would be better served by being purchased by another company.

“We will bring the polyurethane assets and the people who work with those to the Hull site.”
The sale to DelStar, which is part of engineering group SWM, for an undisclosed sum is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The group mainly focuses on products for the tobacco industry, although it also makes other specialist papers.

The products DelStar will make in Gilberdyke are likely to be useful for its filtration work, making parts for face masks and vacuum cleaners.

DelStar president Mark Abrahams said: “We are very excited to announce this acquisition of highly complementary technologies to our product portfolio.

“Our combined customer base will benefit from the enhanced product offerings and expanded geographic presence.

“The Gilberdyke operation is truly first class and we are thrilled to welcome the Gilberdyke team into the SWM and DelStar family.”

David Hooper, of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce said: “We’re sorry to see any facility close, but it’s good to see Smith & Nephew is still committed to the area.

“We hope any job losses are kept to a minimum.