Workers at a Sussex-based electronics firm were today left "devastated" after being told in a video message that manufacturing at their factories is to end and 220 jobs moved to Korea and the Czech Republic.

Unite said Edwards planned to cease all manufacturing at its Burgess Hill and Shoreham factories.

The announcement was made to employees via a video message, which the union said was "tactless".

Regional officer Janet Henney said: "This is another example of the UK skilled manufacturing base being decimated for the benefit of a profit-driven private equity company.

"They have paid little regard to the UK economy, our skills base and least of all to those who have to go home today and tell their families of their loss.

"Another blow has been dealt to British manufacturing with this announcement. The time for this abuse of British jobs must end now."

Shaun McHale, senior Unite steward at the Shoreham site, said: "This is a devastating announcement especially given the co-operation that we have given the company over recent years to retain a UK-based skilled workforce."

The news is the latest job purge in Sussex as the recession shows no sign of abating.

In November, Lloyds axed 400 staff while hundreds more people found themselves out of work when off licence chain Threshers collapsed.

Brighton and Hove City Council is planning to cut 150 positions, the University of Sussex may lose 115 jobs and Sussex Police is also planning to cut back on scores of officers and staff.

Edwards, which has a global workforce of about 2,800, is cutting a total of 219 staff.

As well as Shoreham and Burgess Hill, three jobs are going at its facility in Eastbourne and five from the rest of its UK operations.

Those Shoreham workers remaining at the company will be transferred to a new centre for research and development, which will be built in Sussex at a later date.

Chief executive Nigel Hunton said the decision was made to secure the long-term future of the company.

He said: “We are a technology led business and have learned from the turbulent markets of the past 12 months that we must be closer to our customers, many of whom are in the Far East, and also that we must centralise facilities and expertise.

“This means investing in the UK for our critical high-tech research and development as well as establishing global manufacturing centres in South Korea and the Czech Republic.”

Are you a worker at Edwards? What did you think about the way you were given the news? Let us know in the comments below, or by calling newsdesk on 01273 544 519.