DOZENS of jobs are set to go as a Hampshire recycling plant shuts its doors next month.

Thirty-three workers and 30 subcontractors working at DS Smith Recycling in Hounsdown Business Park, Totton, were called to a meeting yesterday where they were told the grim news that it would be closing on February 21.

Sources at the company told the Daily Echo the number of people losing their jobs is even higher than the official figures given by the firm.

DS Smith bought the former SCA Recycling in July last year.

It said the decision to launch a consultation with staff with a view to closing the Totton site – which recycles 120,000 tonnes of rubbish a year – was made because it was not making enough money.

In a statement, the company said it expected the position to get worse following unsuccessful attempts to find a potential buyer. They also added that the Totton site was not profitable due to high rental costs.

One worker, who did not want to be named, said that the reaction to the news was “shock and disgust”.

He said the firm had made four redundancies over the Christmas period.

The worker added: “We thought that after all the hard work before and after Christmas we would be safe.

“We feel betrayed, because everybody was under the impression that everything was hunky dory and there were even rumours that the plant was making a profit.

“There was not even anger in the room when we were told.

Everything just fell silent when we were told the news.

“I have never heard a room go so silent in all my life. We all felt shocked and disgusted.”

The bombshell came just five days after staff at the plant signed letters from head office asking them to work an extra five hours a week.

Totton South county councillor Cllr David Harrison said it was a “double whammy” for the town after 50 staff were laid off just before Christmas at Elite Transport Services in nearby Eling Wharf.

He said: “The news is a blow to Totton and also the wider area. I went on a tour of DS Smith, and it all looked to be an industry with a future.”

DS Smith Recycling has already shut plants at Croydon in south London and Basildon in Essex since it took over SCA Recycling.

Consulations on closure are also taking place at Gosport and Stoke-on-Trent, while there are plans to merge its Plymouth and Silverton depots in Devon.

Chief executive of DS Smith Recycling, Peter McGuiness said: “We are conscious that this period of consultation provides for an unsettling period for employees, especially at the Totton facility, and provision has been put in place to support staff at this difficult time.

“We are extremely grateful for the staff’s dedication and ongoing commitment to delivering a high level of service.”