350 jobs are protected as firm invests

Markus Wolfesberger, Gary Steen, Richard Johnson, Thomas Riss, Johannes Schick and Steven Malpass.

Markus Wolfesberger, Gary Steen, Richard Johnson, Thomas Riss, Johannes Schick and Steven Malpass.

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The future of hundreds of jobs has been secured after a glass manufacturer chose to invest £17m at its plant in Knottingley.

Austrian company Stoelzle Glass group will install a new furnace at its Weeland Road plant, an expansion project the company said will safeguard 350 jobs.

The company, which makes an award-winning line of decorative alcohol bottles called Prestige Spirits, said the jobs would be secured for 10 years after glass production at the site is boosted from 155 to 175 tons per day.

Chief executive Johannes Schick said: “The United Kingdom is a very important market for the Stoelzle Glass Group, primarily for the high-end premium spirits bottles.

“This year’s double-digit investment in a state-of-the-art extended furnace rebuild, together with significant investments in production, quality inspection and decoration techniques at the Knottingley site will definitely strengthen our Knottingley site as a global market leader in prestige spirits containers.”

The investment is being made after 700 miners lost their jobs at nearby Kellingley Colliery, which closed at the end of last year.

Jobs were also lost with the closure of Ferrybridge C power station, which employed around 170 people.

Stoelzle said it was boosting production at its UK site despite economic uncertainty following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in a referendum two weeks ago.

Mr Schick added: “Even after the UK’s vote against staying in the European Union, our company is very much relying on the excellent skills and performance of our English workforce and local management team, proved this year again by receiving two WorldStar awards for outstanding premium spirits bottles. “