Glass manufacturer Pilkington has announced plans to cut production and axe up to 150 jobs at its St Helens-based factory. The company holds weak building product markets and a slowdown in solar energy glass responsible for the decision.

“The group is taking action to reduce capacity and output to match the requirements of its customers. This will include the mothballing of one of the group’s float lines in the UK,” Pilkington said in a written statement.

“This follows the announcement on December 15, 2011 of the group’s decision to delay the construction of a solar energy line in Vietnam. Further actions will be announced once due process has been followed with employees and unions affected.”

Charlie Leonard, GMB union Senior Organiser, said: “This has come as such a shock.

“Many of the 150 jobs expected to go at St Helens will be young workers who have been taken on recently following a short-lived upsurge in demand. GMB is working to reduce the number of job losses and the impact on the local community.”