Workers face an 80-mile commute

A Cleckheaton castings company has announced it plans to move jobs more than 80 miles away from the town.

The Westley Group, which owns the Francis Birketts and Walter Frank site in Cleckheaton, has started consultation with its employees that could end up with 40 jobs moving to Stoke-on-Trent.

Francis Birkett’s and Walter Frank share a bronze foundry at the Hightown Road site, and their parent company plans to merge the foundry with one in Stoke.

The company has stressed that jobs are not under threat and it would pay for daily transport for workers who decide to transfer.

The jobs would be moved to the the Westley Group’s JT Price site in Stoke-on-Trent, which would mean a 160-mile round trip every day for workers who live in Cleckheaton.

A spokeswoman for the Westley Group added: “We have two other bronze sand casting foundries in our group and the combination of the Cleckheaton foundry with the Stoke-on-Trent foundry will harness the core competence of our sand casting production.”

The company said it hoped to move the bronze foundry workers by autumn this year and that the remaining 65 jobs at the Francis Birkett and Walter Frank site would not be affected should the move go ahead.