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Multinational company Aliaxis gives 200 staff at Marley Plumbing and Drainage at Lenham warning of redundancy

Around 200 staff at a century-old manufacturing plant could soon lose their jobs.

Aliaxis, the Belgium-based owner of Marley Plumbing and Drainage has told staff at its factory in Dickley Road, Lenham, that the plant could be closing.

Aliaxis is looking to make all the staff at its Lenham plant redundant
Aliaxis is looking to make all the staff at its Lenham plant redundant

Workers were called into a meeting at 12noon yesterday where they were told the sad news.

The firm is starting a three-month redundancy consultation process, with staff being told they will receive a final decision on September 6, although the firm later said that was only a target date.

Employees at the plant said the announcement had come as “a bolt out of the blue.”

They were not offered any alternative employment at other sites. The nearest Aliaxis plant is at Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

One worker said: “The mood is very sombre today, as you can imagine.”

The company has its origins with the Marley Tile Company founded by Owen Aisher at Lenham in 1924, although the original business has long been subdivided and sold to different interests.

Sharing the site with Aliaxis is Tarkett - formerly known as Marley Floors. They are unaffected by the redundancy notices, although it is understood that the company leases their site from Aliaxis, who are the freeholders.

Aliaxis UK has owned Marley Plumbing and Drainage for the past 20 years.

The company makes plastic piping installations.

Aliaxis boasts on its website of having a turnover in excess of 3billion Euros.

An historic photo of the plant in 1966 when it was still known as Marley Tile Company
An historic photo of the plant in 1966 when it was still known as Marley Tile Company

John Britt is the chairman of Lenham Parish Council. He said: “There was a time years ago when practically everyone who lived in Lenham worked for Marley.

“That has long since ceased to be the case.

“Still it is sad if people are to lose their jobs and another historic firm is to close.”

Gareth Dunn, the commercial director for Aliaxis UK, gave us this statement: “Aliaxis UK has entered into a period of consultation with its employees on its proposal to make some changes as part of a new UK strategy which, depending on outcome, could see changes to activity at the Lenham site and impact a number of roles within the business.

“This is a sensitive time for all our employees, and the proposals will be subject to a full and thorough consultation process before any final decisions are reached.”

John Britt from Lenham Parish Council
John Britt from Lenham Parish Council

He said: “We of course recognise this is a subject which will hold interest in the surrounding area, however, until such a time as this process is concluded and a final decision reached, we are not in a position to comment on any outcome, impact or any implied dates.”

But Mr Dunn also indicted that the company’s “new UK strategy” might also affect the firm’s other sites across the UK.

He said: “There are a number of potentially impacted roles and they are not limited to the Lenham site. Specifics aren't appropriate at this point in the process within which many changes to the proposal can happen.

“September 6 is therefore a potential and not definite date and depends on this process.

“Alternative employment has not been offered as at this stage this is a proposal only and thus redundancy of any roles to then be re-deployed into alternative roles is not decided and must be through consultation with impacted employees.”

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