One of Shropshire's biggest employers today announced plans to axe jobs and freeze wages as part of a major cost-cutting drive.
Manufacturing giant Ricoh, which employs more than 800 people in Telford, is offering workers the chance to take voluntary redundancy. The scheme will be opened to administrative staff across the printer maker's Priorslee site, as well as another base in Wellingborough.
Ricoh was the first big Japanese-owned company to move to Telford, in 1987. It makes office equipment including printers, fax machines, and copiers.
Director Rod Baggott insisted the move did not reflect any problems within the company – despite supply problems faced by manufacturers in the Far East after last year's devastating Japanese tsunami.
He said: "In spite of the impact of natural disasters, we have managed to grow our business and maintain profitability.
"However our future profitability can only be secured by strict cost control and by ensuring we are organised as efficiently as possible.."
As yet, no decision has been taken on exactly how many staff will be expected to take redundancy. More details are expected to become clear on February 24.
While the Telford plant employs hundreds, voluntary redundancy is only being offered to a proportion, specifically staff in non-production administrative roles.
It is the second time the company has opened its voluntary redundancy scheme to Telford staff, the last being around 10 years ago. At that time, the company says, no compulsory redundancies were made.
In September, the Telford site revealed pre-tax profits fell by two thirds, to £4.m, despite sales rising to £336m.