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18 January 2019, 15:13
Hundreds of job losses have been confirmed at one of Wiltshire's biggest employers.
In October, Cooper Tires revealed some of the production at the Melksham site could end.
Now it have been confirmed around 300 roles are being made redundant.
Here's the full statement:
Following collective consultation with Unite, its recognised trade union, as well as other employee representatives, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe Ltd. (CTE) today announced it will move forward with its previously announced proposal to end light vehicle tyre production in Melksham.
It is expected that production will be phased out over a period of approximately 10 months. Cooper Tire Europe will obtain light vehicle tyres to meet customer needs from other sites within Cooper’s global production network.
With this decision, approximately 300 roles, primarily manufacturing and support positions related to light vehicle tyre production, will become redundant at the site. Proper notice will be provided, and employees whose roles are being made redundant will be paid 150 percent of statutory entitlement as well as other separation pay.
Expert career services will continue to be offered to impacted employees, including partnering with Wiltshire Council and Melksham Town Council to provide career counselling, job fairs and a career centre.
Approximately 400 roles will remain to support functions that will continue in Melksham, including motorsports and motorcycle tyre production, the materials business, CTE headquarters/sales and marketing, and the Europe Technical Centre.
''This has been a time of uncertainty for our colleagues in Melksham and we appreciate their professionalism and cooperation throughout the collective consultation process,'' said Jaap van Wessum, General Manager, Cooper Tire Europe.
''Now, with the collective consultation concluded and plans for the future confirmed, there is more certainty for the workforce, and we are helping those who will be leaving us over the coming months to do so in the best possible way for their future. Cooper Tire Europe will remain in Melksham and we will continue to implement plans designed to grow our business in a way that supports a long-term, sustainable future.''
Unite regional officer Tony Hulbert said: ''We are blaming the continued dumping of cheap inferior tyres from countries, such as China, for the jobs losses at Melksham.
''Unite has campaigned against this phenomenon and has repeatedly urged the government to create a level playing field for tyre manufacturers in the UK. ''These inferior tyre imports are not only bad for road safety, but bad for UK jobs and manufacturin, as has been proved by this announcement.
''What also sticks in the gullet is that Cooper Tires constructed a purpose-built factory in Serbia, where labour costs are much cheaper than the UK, which is now going to take on the work from Melksham. ''What adds insult to injury is that our members went over to Serbia to train the workers there in production techniques and now they have lost their jobs to them.
''We have spent recent months in talks with management to mitigate these job losses which total 312. We have been told that there will be no redundancies until June this year.
''Today's announcement, which was heralded in October, is still a cruel blow for the workforce and their families and will have a very big adverse impact on the Wiltshire economy. ''We will give our members maximum support in the days and weeks ahead, and work constructively with the management to secure a viable future for the remaining workforce at Melksham.''