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750 jobs go in RMC clearout

The RMC name looks set to disappear as its new owner implements a wholesale restructuring which will see one in 10 employees lose their jobs.
The move by its parent company, Mexican cement giant Cemex, which bought RMC for £2.3 billion in March, means 750 jobs will be axed.

Cemex executives were announcing the changes on Tuesday to analysts across the Atlantic where the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

All 7,000 RMC employees in the UK have been told about the job cuts. These are being introduced as part of a plan by the Mexican firm to bring the group into line with its global operations. Its entire IT and tax operations are based at its headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico.

The redundancies, which will run across the board, are due to be completed by the middle of October, following a 120 day consultation period.

No details on how much the restructuring will cost Cemex and end up saving the company were available as Construction Newswent to press.

The RMC name has been gradually replaced by Cemex UK at a corporate level since the takeover but this week's announcement looks to have finally spelt the end of a marque synonymous with construction.

One insider said: 'The RMC name will probably go for good now.'

He added: 'People had been expecting job losses to happen follow the acquisition. At least it's all out in the open now. I think Cemex want to get on with it so they can start turning things around.'

Cemex executives found the RMC group was under-performing compared to its other businesses following a review of the business.

European president Fernando Gonzalez, who is based at RMC's head office in Thorpe, Surrey, has now concluded that the only way to get RMC back on track is to follow the blueprint of its parent. One insider added: 'This business model is very different from the RMC model.'

The firm has said that it cannot rule out the possibility of further job cuts and site closures but said that a number of businesses, including its quarries and ready mixed concrete plants and its surfacing operation, would be unaffected by the changes.

British Aggregates Association executive officer Richard Bird said: 'I'm not surprised at the news with the industry being squeezed as it is.'

Cemex is also planning to increase the number of its UK regions from five to seven - Scotland, north-east, north-west, south-east, south-west, western and eastern.

Following its recent problems with its operations in Germany, which saw the firm nursing a £133 million pre-tax loss in 2003, RMC shed 800 jobs in a restructuring of its own, carried out before the Cemex takeover.

by David Rogers

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