Re­dun­dancy blow for beaten Green can­di­date

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sam Len­non slen­non@thek­m­

ONE of Ash­ford’s beaten gen­eral elec­tion can­di­dates is now be­ing made re­dun­dant from his reg­u­lar job.

Green Party can­di­date Steve Camp­kin lost out in Tory Damian Green’s over­whelm­ing vic­tory in last Thurs­day’s poll and now has the dou­ble blow of los­ing his ma­chin­ist’s job.

Mr Camp­kin re­ceived his re­dun­dancy no­tice in late April while he was on the cam­paign trail.

He is one of about 30 peo­ple leav­ing Cook­son Elec­tron­ics at Hen­wood In­dus­trial Es­tate, off Hythe Road, on June 30.

He said: “I got 10 weeks’ no­tice, which came as I was in the mid­dle of the elec­tion cam­paign.

“I don’t know what I am go­ing to do work­wise now, but at least I have a fork­lift truck driver li­cence, so that could help me.

“But I will def­i­nitely be stand­ing in the next elec­tion and will con­tinue my work with the Green Party. I will also do vol­un­tary work for the RSPCA un­til I get a new job.” Mr Camp­kin, 33, of Bee­cholme Drive, Ken­ning­ton, is in one of a last wave of re­dun­dan­cies af­ter Cook­son an­nounced two years ago that it was mov­ing op­er­a­tions to Hol­land and Hun­gary.

He said: “Morale is OK, con­sid­er­ing, al­though some peo­ple have been work­ing here for 25 years, so they are gut­ted.

“We had to train a group of work­ers com­ing over from Hol­land who are tak­ing over the work, but there was no an­i­mos­ity to­wards them.”

Cook­son Elec­tron­ics re­vealed in April 2008 that 80 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs would go with the clo­sure of the Ash­ford plant af­ter 70 years’ pres­ence in the area.

The pre-re­ces­sion an­nounce­ment said that parts of the busi­ness were mov­ing to The Nether­lands and Hun­gary and an­other part would be re­lo­cated to its UK head of­fice in Wok­ing, Sur­rey.

Mov­ing the pro­duc­tion lines to Europe was es­ti­mated to save the com­pany £1 mil­lion.

Mr Camp­kin had joined the firm, which makes ma­te­ri­als for com­po­nents used in elec­tri­cal items, just six months be­fore that an­nounce­ment. At present just 42 peo­ple are left at the site fol­low­ing waves of re­dun­dan­cies over the past year.

Op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Steve Clark said that pro­duc­tion would close at the site on June 30 and the last 10 to 12 staff and man­age­ment would stay on the site un­til its com­plete clo­sure by the end of Septem­ber.

He said: “This has hap­pened for eco­nomic rea­sons as our mar­kets have moved east­wards. The staff have been ab­so­lutely su­perb and we have tried to help them with out­place­ment train­ing, with CV writ­ing and in­ter­view skills.”

Un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures in Ash­ford are at their high­est since the re­ces­sion be­gan in 2008.

The num­ber of peo­ple in the bor­ough claim­ing job­seek­ers’ al­lowance was 2,066 this March, or 3.1 per cent, com­pared with 811 in March 2008.

Steve Camp­kin and the Cook­son Elec­tron­ics site in Ash­ford

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