NEARLY 50 workers will lose their jobs when a Ramsbottom factory shuts down one of its machines.

Tissue-making firm SCA plans to close one of its paper machines at its Stubbins Mill site, in Stubbins Lane, for the last time in autumn this year.

SCA says its Paper Machine 2 is too old to run.

The 44 people effected by the proposals have been offered possible transfers to 40 positions at the company’s Skelmersdale site – 25 miles away in West Lancashire.

For four workers this will mean automatic redundancy, and those who choose not to reapply for the roles in Skelmersdale will be deemed to have opted for voluntary redundancy.

The announcement follows a review by SCA of its UK sites, which the firm said focused on the need to increase quality to meet changing market requirements.

SCA confirmed its plans to close the machine last Thursday, announcing it was beginning a ‘period of consultation’ with employees about potential moves to work on the redeveloped machine at the Skelmersdale plant.

Jim Lang, SCA’s operations director, said: “The period of consultation will give employees the opportunity to ask questions and contribute views.

“Our strategy at SCA is to increase the quality of our offering to meet changing market requirements and to enable the company to compete effectively.

“We are upgrading our paper-making resources by reopening a state-of-the-art paper-making machine at our mill in Skelmersdale.

“This will produce extremely high quality paper and will enable us to compete more effectively.

“We expect this will create around 40 jobs at our Skelmersdale mill.

“Unfortunately, due to its age, Paper Machine 2 (PM2) at Stubbins is unable to provide the quality paper that we need.

“The proposal is that we close PM2 by the autumn of 2017 and we have now entered into consultation with the 44 employees who would be affected by the closure.

“Employees will be given the opportunity to transfer to the 40 new vacancies at our Skelmersdale site, with any remaining job losses achieved by voluntary redundancy.”

SCA bought Stubbins Mill in 2012 as part of a wider acquisition of Georgia Pacific’s European tissue operations