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Leeds auto plant closure today ‘a betrayal of the work...

Leeds auto plant closure today ‘a betrayal of the workers', says Unite

29 April 2016

Another nail, albeit a relatively small one, has been hammered into the UK’s manufacturing heritage with the closure of a Leeds automotive parts company today (Friday 29 April), with the loss nearly 100 skilled jobs.

Unite, the country’s largest union, condemned the actions of German-owned ThyssenKrupp Woodhead Leeds, as the workers finished their last shift at lunchtime today.

The union believes that the company decided that the flooding of the Kirkstall Road-based site on Boxing Day is being used as ‘a very poor excuse’ to move the 93 jobs to eastern Europe.

Unite regional officer Richard Bedford said: “We regard the actions of the company as a betrayal for this dedicated workforce that worked 101 per cent to clear up after the flooding over Christmas.

“The factory has been on that site for 160 years, making about £2 million a year in profit and had prestige customers such as Aston Martin, GM, JLR and Nissan.

“This was a solid profitable company that could have been relocated within Leeds – but the owners have used the flooding as a very poor and flimsy excuse to move, we believe, the work to eastern Europe.

“This is another nail in the manufacturing heritage of the UK – and a sign of how international capitalism works to the detriment of working people, despite the best efforts of Unite, Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn,  and Leeds city council leader Cllr. Judith Blake to keep the plant and the 93 skilled jobs in the city.”

Unite recently wrote to the minister for the ‘northern powerhouse’, James Wharton asking him to intervene over reports that the company was  thinking of relocating to eastern Europe – and saying that the so-called ‘northern powerhouse’ would never get off the ground, if companies were allowed to behave in the manner of ThyssenKrupp Woodhead Leeds 

Unite has also blamed ministers for the scaling back of flood defence spending in Leeds in 2011 for sabotaging the plan for the ’northern powerhouse’.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org 

  • 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.