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DB Shoes

Evening Telegraph, 5th April 1975, by Adrian Higgins

No work Shock for 50 - A shoe factory's workforce was cut by a third when more than fifty employees lost their jobs yesterday.

The move, which shocked workers and their trade union, was at the Rushden firm of DB Shoes Ltd. The firm blamed the "extremely difficult trading and financial conditions of the past six months".

Mr John Denton, who heads the firm with his brother Hugh, broke the news yesterday morning to workers at the factory in Rectory Road, Rushden.

All departments are affected by the cuts. A statement from the firm says: "During the past six months we, like many others, have experienced extremely difficult trading and financial conditions".

"As it appears unlikely that there will be any rapid improvement in the foresee­able future, we have no op­tion other than to face the realities of the situation and reduce production to a level consistent with present demand.

"It is therefore with the utmost regret that we are forced to immediately release 18 employees above retirement age, with a further 34 being made redundant later in the month".

Meetings were held yesterday between the management, the National Union of Footwear, Leather and Allied Trades (NUFLAT) and the Employment Service Agency. Mr R W Bazeley, president of the union's Rushden branch said; "It is a great shock, I am sorry it has happened", but there is no reason why other factories should follow suit. Asked whether certain workers had been singled out Mr Bazeley said: "No doubt there will be some people at DB Shoes who will say 'Why me and not him?'." He wasn't prepared to say what points the union made at yesterday's meeting but said the firm said it would reconsider its action. Twenty-three men and 29 women were dismissed and not all of them were mem­bers of NUFLAT.

Mr G A Crawford managing director of the Wellingborough and Rushden branch of the Employment Service Agency said: "I am confident that the people who are not over retirement age will find employment. There are still jobs in the industry locally".

Unidentified newsclip, 21st Aug 1980, transcribed by Kay Collins

ANOTHER 186 county shoe workers are to lose their jobs as a result of factory closures. Jaques and Clark, one of Rushden's oldest shoe firms, plans to stop manufacturing by December with the loss of 90 jobs, and another 96 jobs will go when the Rushden-based DB Group closes one of its Northampton factories later this year. Both firms blame a cut in orders.

Jaques and Clark, which has its factory in Midland Road, was started in 1890 and makes men's medium grade shoes for mail order, multiples and the wholesale trade. A director, Mr Tom Thacker, broke the news to the workers. He said that with future trading in the footwear manufacturing industry so uncertain, the company had entered into consultation with the shoe union Nuflat and other appropriate authorities, to cease manufacturing on December 1. He said that a total of 90 full and part-time workers would be affected. Many of them were long serving employees. Mr Thacker, who has been with the firm for 52 years, said he could not at this stage say what would happen to the firm.

Mr John Denton, managing director of the DB shoes group, said the decision to close DB Shoes (Northampton) was due to serious losses made over the last 18 months. In the present difficult economic climate there was also a need to conserve resources within the rest of the group. The Northampton factory makes men's flow moulded and fashion shoes and there had been a down turn in orders. Mr Denton said the DB Development Sandals factory at Northampton would continue on its present site for the time being, but might have to be re-located in the future. The Rushden and Leicester factories continued to work full time but it would be necessary to modernise plant in the Rushden factory. Mr Denton said 96 employees at Northampton would be made redundant over the next two or three months on the completion of existing orders.

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