US-based global tyre-maker Goodyear has announced plans to close its only UK factory in Wolverhampton, with all 330 workers likely to lose their jobs.
The planned closure jeopardizes hundreds more jobs in the supply chain and is part of a proposed Europe-wide reorganization at Goodyear.
IndustriALL Global Union’s UK affiliate Unite warned that the closure of the Goodyear factory in Wolverhampton would have severe ramifications on the local economy in addition to the damage to employees.
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.
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."
The historic site at Wolverhampton has been in production for nearly 90 years. IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan says:
I personally know the plant in Wolverhampton. Over the years, Goodyear has reduced the workforce little by little and are now making a final cut. Our sisters and brothers there have contributed to the success of Goodyear for decades, something which must be remembered.
We support our affiliate’s outrage over the plans and call on Goodyear to start respecting their workers whose efforts have helped build the company’s huge success.
The news about the plant closure in the UK follows announcements in April this year that Goodyear intends to build a new factory in Mexico.
IndustriALL US affiliate United Steel Workers (USW) said at the time that the decision was disappointing but not surprising.
USW International President Leo W. Gerard said:
“USW members at Goodyear have been willing partners and have repeatedly shown their commitment to championing the success of the company. Together we worked hard to help turn the company around, and the USW has led the fight to stop a flood of unfairly priced tires from China.”
Goodyear employs about 75,000 people with factories in the US, South America, Europe and Asia.