13 jobs lost at historic Burnley business

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A HISTORIC Burnley business has been forced to cut around 20% of its workforce because of tough trading conditions and repeated targeting by criminals.

Qualiti Burnley Limited, formerly part of Hill’s Pharmaceuticals, announced 13 redundancies, including six voluntary, in a bid to slash £250,000 in costs.

The long-running pharmaceutical packaging company, based in Talbot Street, Harle Syke, still employs 62 full-time staff.

Michael Payne, managing director of the Walshaw Mill-based firm, said: “What has caused our downturn in business is one of our major customers has been taken over by a US company.

“As a result they wanted to do things their way and have taken on more work themselves.”

A full financial review of the company’s performance was conducted before Christmas which highlighted the need for £250,000 in savings.

Mr Payne said that sadly these cuts had to be made to employees.

“It was a regrettable and sad decision, but sometimes these things will happen. Just about every company that we deal with is suffering the same fate. It will strengthen the company’s position because we had to save a significant amount of money.”

Mr Payne said the business had also taken a massive hit from metal thieves repeatedly targeting the factory.

Last week thieves caused £2,000 worth of damage to the building and in May 2011 QBL suffered a £60,000 raid by lead thieves. Around £10,000 damage was also caused to air conditioning units on the roof in 2010.

He said: “This is the problem we are up against. These thefts really affect our business. It is a huge cost to us.

“Had out business not been so robust it could have taken us to the wall. It could have closed us down.

“It gets you very, very despondent. Just about every factory round here has been hit – and even the school.

“The sentencing of these crimes is so light that there is no fear.”

QBL has now had to fork out thousands of pounds on external CCTV and infra-red cameras to put a stop to the attacks.