Derry's Arntz Belting Heads For Trouble

The future for a struggling Pennyburn fan belt factory, which currently employs around 110 people, is looking bleak.

The manufacturing plant, Arntz Belting Company, went to a three-day week in December and also sought 28 redundancies in March.

However, the global recession has led to the firm's parent company looking at further cuts.

The NI Trade Minister Arlene Foster said last week that she has been following developments: "I am aware that Optibelt, the parent company of Arntz Belting Company Ltd is considering a number of options as a result of global economic downturn.

"As yet no decision has been made to close two factories nor specific factories identified," she said.

However, as reported in the Londonderry Sentinel newspaper, she did indicate

that she will "intervene if an when appropriate" to aid the stricken plant which has not received any money from INI since 1997.

"Invest NI officials have kept me aware of challenges facing the Arntz Belting Company factory.

"On my behalf, Invest NI continue to liaise with the company in relation to long-term plans for the Pennyburn factory with a view to intervening if and when appropriate," she said.

But concerns are growing among the company's workers.

This Wednesday employees revealed they had seen documents that suggested people would be made redundant in August and the plant would face closure by the end of the year.


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