Former Passport Printer Axes 170 Jobs

By Gary Cutlack on at

De La Rue's print factory in Gateshead is performing what it might like us to refer to as a streamlining operation, with 170 jobs about to be lost in a streamline straight to redundancy. De La Rue is best known as the company that used to print our passports, until the government bizarrely handed that job to an overseas provider, because some old people wanted them a colour they imagined to be better.

The government famously handed the contract to print our passports from 2020 onwards to EU firm Gemalto last year, taking a total of £490m of annual business from De La Rue's Gateshead plant; indirectly leading to a financial crunch at the firm that's triggered the closure of a print line dedicated to bashing out bank notes, and the potential loss of the 170 workers.

The workers' union is not shy about blaming the politicians for this, with Unite officer Louisa Bull saying: "The Government’s short-sighted and blinkered decision to award the printing of post-Brexit UK passports, worth £490m, to French-Dutch firm Gemalto seriously undermined the financial viability of the Gateshead operation. This flawed decision came home to roost today with the loss of 170 jobs working on the different types of currency notes that De La Rue produces." [Chronicle Live]