NEARLY 60 people from the Newquay area will be jobless this Christmas after it emerged that a major electronics firm is closing in St Columb.
Infoteam International is pulling out of Cornwall altogether and transferring production to its site in Telford, Shropshire.
The company told the Cornish Guardian that 55 people were being made redundant now and a further 4 would lose their jobs in February. Out of those who currently hold jobs at the St Columb Major Business Park site, only a handful who work in IT and finance were "not at risk".
Community leaders said the redundancies and loss of the business – which holds contracts with Sony and also has bases in Dubai, Australia and Northern Ireland – were a blow to the local economy.
An employee at Infoteam, who did not wish to be named, said he was "absolutely gutted" to have been made redundant before Christmas. "They have had practice, they closed our sister site at Hayle just before the festive period last year," he said.
"While I won't miss working for Infoteam, I will miss working with the people I have met.
"It seems the company has a knack for being the bearer of bad news at the worst time, although I accept there's never a good time to be made unemployed."
The Cornish Guardian reported that the firm had entered into consultations with staff in March due to the economic climate, and bosses confirmed at the time that 29 jobs could be lost.
St Columb's deputy mayor, Linda Heggie, said: "It is the first I have heard of it. I will imagine it will have an impact on people here. It is a blow for the town. It is very sad for St Columb Major and for those who have lost jobs."
Cornwall councillor for St Columb, Pat Harvey, also said it was the first she had heard of it, but was "extremely sorry" to hear the news.
"It's a blow for St Columb Major and for the people concerned who are losing their jobs, especially at this time of year."
One of the area's biggest employers, Infoteam shed 86 staff at its St Columb plant back in June 2009.
Glen Coffey, Infoteam's chief executive officer, said: "It is with regret that after a decline in work at sites in the South West, the company had to save money to ensure its continual improvement as an after-market services provider.
"The board has therefore decided to centralise its operation in the Midlands area; this has presented cost savings to both Infoteam itself and its clients due to its proximity to the central logistics hubs in the UK."