Flooding at a Leeds automotive parts company should not be used as an excuse to relocate nearly 100 skilled jobs to eastern Europe, the minister for the northern powerhouse has been told.
Unite, the country’s largest union, has written to the minister for the northern powerhouse, James Wharton to intervene over reports that German-owned ThyssenKrupp Woodhead Leeds is thinking of relocating to eastern Europe, following extensive flooding of the factory on Boxing Day. It would mean the loss of 93 jobs.
Unite has already blamed ministers for the scaling back of flood defence spending in Leeds in 2011 for sabotaging the plan for the so-called northern powerhouse.
In his letter to James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, Unite assistant general secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke wrote: “I am advised the company is considering moving production to eastern Europe and therefore as the minister responsible for the northern powerhouse I would request that you intervene on this matter.
“The company employs highly skilled workers who produce coils and springs for companies, such as Jaguar Land Rover and BMW.”
Tony Burke added today (Monday 21 March): “The Kirkstall Road-based company is a profitable site and there is no need for any talk about relocation to eastern Europe - it should be persuaded to reinvest and relocate in Leeds and by doing so it will have access to the key skills their 93 employees will continue to provide.
“James Wharton is a northern MP and unless he intervenes with ministerial colleagues the ‘powerhouse’ will become a fleeting figment of beleaguered chancellor George Osborne’s imagination.
“When the factory flooded on Boxing Day, our members did all they could to assist with the clean-up, despite the horrific conditions. Now when loyalty is requested, in return, they are kicked in the teeth.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 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.