Britain’s largest union, Unite warned that the closure of the Goodyear factory in Wolverhampton, with the loss of up to 400 jobs, would devastate the local economy and was being taken because British workers are easier and cheaper to fire than their European counterparts.
The decision announced today (Thursday 25 June) puts hundreds of jobs in the supply chain at risk and is part of a proposed Europe wide reorganisation. Unite understands that the work will go to less productive, less profitable plants in either France or Germany.
The news comes as David Cameron tours Europe seeking treaty changes ahead of an EU referendum and prompted calls from Unite for him to level up the playing field and give British workers the same protections as their European counterparts.
Goodyear’s Wolverhampton factory mixes the rubber compounds for tyres as well as re-treading tyres. The re-tread division is expected to close in October this year and the rubber compounds by January 2017.
Commenting Gerard Coyne, Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands, said: “The closure of the factory and the loss of hundreds of skilled manufacturing jobs will be a devastating blow to the economy.
“It is disgraceful that Goodyear did not have the good grace to tell the workforce first and instead workers found out that they could be out of a job through the local media.
“It is a contemptable way to treat a loyal workforce. Hundreds of families will be now facing uncertainty and we will do everything we can to support them and the community in fighting for jobs and their futures.
“It is clear that Goodyear has ignored the fact that they are a productive workforce and decided to close the factory because UK workers are cheaper and easier to fire than their European counterparts.
“As part of his treaty negotiations David Cameron needs to level up the playing field and give British workers the same protections as their European counterparts so that they can compete on an equal footing.
“Any move to dilute workers’ rights as part of those negotiations will leave UK workers more insecure and more likely to get fired when European wide companies make decisions about reorganising their operations.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey