Second jobs blow to tyre industry

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The Independent Online

About 540 jobs are under threat at tyre maker Goodyear - the second major employment blow to the industry in two days.

About 540 jobs are under threat at tyre maker Goodyear - the second major employment blow to the industry in two days.

The firm blamed high costs, low productivity and adverse market conditions for its reappraisal of workforce levels.

The cuts are being targeted at its Wolverhampton plant, which employs 2,000 people.

Yesterday, French tyre maker Michelin said it was axing 950 jobs at its factory in Stoke-on-Trent.

Goodyear said it had given unions 90 days notice that improvements must be made, otherwise redundancies were an "option".

Its decision has been branded "aggressive and abrasive" by the Transport and General Workers Union.

National officer Peter Booth said the company had given notice that agreements on security of employment would be broken.

He added: "The announcement comes as a deep shock as it follows preliminary discussions with a senior company executive on a visit to the site in which he stated that all agreements would be honoured.

"We are fully aware of the problems in the tyre industry, but the way that Goodyear has gone about these redundancies is aggressive and abrasive. It is a dreadful way to treat their loyal workforce."

Labour MP Ken Purchase warned the effect of so many job losses on Wolverhampton "scarcely bears thinking about".

Mr Purchase said the losses would wipe out steady gains in employment in the region in recent years.

"It is all bad news," he said. "There is a problem of over production of tyres around the world, but I hope that Goodyear can achieve the cost cutting it understandably wants."

The factory has been producing tyres since 1927 and is now owned by the US-based corporation.

A leaked company memo in the summer warned that the plant was under threat because of low productivity and the strength of the pound.

The Department of Trade and Industry said it would offer any support it could to the company and its workers.

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