ALMOST a third of workers at a circuit board manufacturer could be laid off amid fears over rising material and energy costs.

Up to 45 jobs at Invotec Circuits, Cunliffe Road, Whitebirk Industrial Estate, Blackburn, are in-line to be axed after the company announced it was looking to cancel its night shift.

Employees of the firm, which employs 152 people at its Blackburn site, were informed of the plans earlier this week at the end of one of the night shifts.

And according to one worker who contacted the Lancashire Telegraph, the announcement had come as a bombshell.

An Invotec spokesman said it was in consultation with workers over the extent of the job losses, but confirmed that around 45 staff could be laid off.

And they said the decision to reduce staff numbers had been made on the back of increases in the “cost of materials and power.”

The spokesman added: “As a result we may no longer need to operate a night shift at the factory.”

An Invotec employee, who asked not to be named, said: “They got everybody in in the morning and told us.

"They said they were laying all the night shift off.

"There’s around 35 people on the night shift so they’ll have to find others to go as well.

“It’s come as a surprise because we thought the company was doing well and now this has happened.”

At the Be Inspired Lancashire Business Awards 2005, Invotec won the UK Trade and Investment Award for Export Achievement for the second year running.