The proposed loss of 80 jobs at Pirelli in Burton-on-Trent is ‘another employment hammer blow’ to the town’s struggling Covid-19 economy, Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Thursday 11 February).

The tyre giant is closing MIRS, the robotic department that makes bespoke tyres, following the downturn in the market during the pandemic.

Unite heavily criticised the company for not taking up the furlough scheme for these workers, instead of pushing ahead with the redundancies.

Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The job retention scheme (JRS) was specifically introduced to prevent Covid-19 related redundancies.  Unite is bitterly disappointed that the Pirelli bosses have started to consult on redundancies in Burton-on-Trent, rather than furlough the workers concerned for the maximum time possible. 

“This is another hammer blow adding to the jobs’ misery in the town. Well-paid, skilled jobs are extremely hard to find.

“Once again, we see jobs slipping away because of the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s failure to announce an extension to the JRS – Burton’s plight is mirrored in similar towns across the country.

“There are virtually no advertised vacancies in Burton paying above £10.50 an hour. The town’s geographical position means that Burton has attracted a multitude of warehousing jobs all paying low wages.

“The loss of the Kerry Foods factory in 2019, employing 900 people, is still keenly felt in the town.”

Unite represents the total workforce at the Pirelli Burton plant, currently about 280 members.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.