Girvan jobs under threat as ‘work goes to China’

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Jobs could be under threat at the Guardian Surgical, formerly known as BDF, factory in Girvan.

One member of staff who contacted the Gazette said that Guardian Surgical is closing one of its two rural factories at Patna and Girvan and moving production to China ‘to save money’.

Guardian Surgical has factories at Grangestone Industrial Estate in Girvan and in Patna empoying up to 250 people.

The company manufacture hospital theatre gowns and draping systems. film dressings and dental floss.

A spokesman for Guardian Surgical said that at this stage there was only a ‘consultation’ and no redundancies had been announced.

The staff member said that workers have been given 30 days’ notice of the closure.

The staff member said: “Will the NHS be happy with hospital equipment being made in China?

“BDF Publicity states it is proud that all hospital supplies are made in the UK?

“This is a large scale redundancy in a rural area were there are few opportunities for employment. The staff were told it is cheaper to manufacture in China than in the UK.

“This is just a large UK company making more profit regardless of UK employment. Girvan is a rural town with little or no employment opportunities for the female employees.”

A hand out given to staff entitled ‘Verbal announcement to Girvan and Patna employees’ said: “In order to maintain a sustainable business we have set to balance our production between Scotland and overseas. In the last two to three years this has accelerated and more products are being produced offshore.

“To date the impact of this split-production has been a reduction in our UK workforce which has been managed by natural attrition.

“As a business we have a strong and reasonably stable customer base. We have been able to grow sales however as more and more competitors have moved their own production to China for lower costs our growth outlook has more recently been limited to products being produced overseas.

“We have established that if we move more production toward China and reduce our UK overheads both plant and labour this would deliver a 15 per cent reduction in our cost base.

“Our proposal does not include the closure of all operations in Scotland but it does highlight the need for only a single plant going forward.”

A Guardian Surgical spokesman said: “Guardian have announced proposed potential changes to their operating structure following an ongoing business review.

“This review focused on the business operational requirements and the costs associated with those operational requirements. Guardian have two facilities in Scotland (Girvan and Patna) as well as existing overseas partners.

“Guardian have announced proposals for the potential need of operating from only one of their facilities in Scotland. This will ensure a continued operational presence in the area going forward.

“Guardian have started a consultation process with all staff affected by these proposed changes.”

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP Corri Wilson has expressed her concern at the proposed closure of one of the two Guardian Surgical plants in Ayrshire.

Formerly known as BDF Healthcare, the plants in Girvan and Patna produce single use surgical textiles and sterile dental equipment for the healthcare sector.

Staff at the two sites were informed on Tuesday that up to 100 jobs are under threat after the company announced plans to relocate one of its Ayrshire factories to China as a cost cutting measure.

Corri Wilson MP said: “I have today written to both the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the Managing Director of Guardian Surgical, in a bid to get this decision reversed.

“Both Patna and Girvan need these jobs and it would be devastating for either community to lose them. The staff at both plants are highly skilled, and I hope to convince the company to think again on this decision.

“This is truly heart-breaking news for the workforce, who are now forced into a thirty day limbo while the company consults on the options.

“I have asked for an urgent meeting with them to see if there is any way we can get this decision overturned, and to emphasise the importance of supporting their staff through such a difficult time.

“I want the staff at both plants to know that I will do everything I can to safeguard their jobs.”