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In The Sunday Express this Sunday it was reported that a slump in high dtreet sales for household goods has led to thousands of workers being laid off.

Poor sales of whitegoods is being blamed for this and unions warn that redundancies may be set to follow.

1200 workers at the Indesit cooker factory in Blythe Bridge were told that they would not be paid for five days from April 25th 2005. The staff will be eligible to seek a jobseekers allowance but there are rumours that this is only the start amidst fears that production may be switched to Poland where labour costs are lower. Of couorse on top of the recent collapse of MG Rover this could serve as yet another blow to the region and to British manufacturing.

At the Hotpoint plant in Peterborough 400 workers have also been warned that they face the same week without work. They have been offered £18 a day to stay at home as opposed to their normal rate of £54 per day. Mick Stevens, the Amicus union official, was reported as stating that the shutdowns were "regrettable" but the only alternative to job losses. He also added that, "I can accept the suspension of production so long as it does not lead to redundancies."

Three years ago Indesit (then Merloni) invested over £20million into the Peterborough site.

An Indesit company spokesman said: "This is only a temporary move to rebalance stock levles and production without having compulsary redundancies."

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