Optare facing job losses

Optare facing job losses West Yorkshire media reports suggest that 90 jobs are at risk at Optare.
REDUNDANCIES are looming at Optare following the purchase of the business by Roy Stanley’s Jamesstan Investments in March, and its subsequent merger with Darwen Group, the former East Lancs business, in June.
The company is tight-lipped, saying only that it has this week started consultation with its workforce.

A spokesperson says: “We have entered a period of consultation as part of the restructuring of the business, which may result in some redundancies. Communication with our workforce during the consultation period is extremely important, therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”

Local West Yorkshire media reports suggest that 90 jobs are at risk among Optare’s 550 employees. An earlier high-profile casualty of the takeover was managing director Bob Coombes who left four weeks after conclusion of the deal.

Darwen Group, now merged with Optare, has cut the workforce at its Blackburn factory, and the company could be in the position of needing to find new locations for both its bus-building operations. Plans have already been announced to relocate the Blackburn operation somewhere else close to the town, while in 2006 Optare sought planning permission to have houses built on its site in Crossgates, Leeds. This was refused but is currently the subject of an appeal.

The enlarged Optare group has a comprehensive bus range, from the Solo through to the Esteem double-decker. It also sells Spanish-built Ferqui coach bodies although, as reported in this issue, Optare coach sales director Jonathan Prime has left the company.