Kilbirnie's Aquafil carpet production factory has been earmarked for closure, with the loss of 40 jobs.

The move by the Italian-owned multinational was today described as "a devastating blow" by the GMB Scotland union.

The owners blamed "five years of losses" for the closure plan.

GMB organiser Chris Kennedy said the decision to shut such a well-established factory, which was previously W&J Knox until a takeover in 2014, had been sudden and left workers shocked and uncertain.

He said: “The company’s decision was unexpected but is another indication of how rising prices are impacting on businesses and jobs.

“Our priority is to pull every lever possible to save these jobs and this factory. If that cannot be done, our efforts will be directed to ensure workers receive every penny due to them and have every possible support to find new jobs.

“It is a sad day for them and their community.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Aquifil

The Kilbirnie factory carries out interlacing and twisting for the carpet yarn industry. 

In a statement announcing the proposed closure,  Aquafil said: "Covid and Brexit have brought about challenging trading conditions in the UK.

"In this most recent recession, Aquafil UK is finding increasingly difficult to fulfil its planned capacity through existing clients.

"This has led to management taking the decision to lower our cash-flow prices, subsequent falling gross profit margins and problems.

"Since 2019 we have operated at a loss due to increase in power costs, (pro-rata increase of 100 per cent since 2019); increase in Labour costs (pro-rata increase of 18 per cent since 2019) and an increase in raw material costs. (pro-rata increase of 30 per cent since 2019)."

They added: "We have had to consider how we can reduce our overhead costs and consider the viability of a site that has continued to make losses for five years and further losses are unsustainable.

"We therefore propose to close the plant. This therefore means that all employees are at risk of redundancy if we close the plant. We will carry out a full consultation process with all employees.

"As there are 20 or more employees who are affected, process will include holding consultation meetings with their representatives."

"Consultation meetings will include asking the trade union representatives and employees for their suggestions on alternatives to these proposals and any ways to avoid or lessen the impact of the proposed redundancies including possible redeployment.

"Should there be no alternatives, those whose roles are declared redundant will be offered redundancy packages to include Statutory Redundancy pay and contractual notice as required under UK law."

The Herald has contacted Aquifil for further comment on the factory closure plans.