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No business case

Goodyear plant closure a ‘political decision,’ says Unite
Shaun Noble, Friday, September 25th, 2015

Business secretary Sajid Javid has been urged to ‘bang heads together’ so that the US bosses of Goodyear hold ‘genuine’ consultations over the threat to 330 jobs at its Wolverhampton plant.

Unite said that the decision to close the West Midlands plant was ‘a political decision’ made in the US and rubber stamped by the UK management. It had nothing to do with its excellent productivity record, profitability or exchange rates.

“We believe that this was a political decision taken by the US bosses of Goodyear as a sop to shareholders and because it is easier to fire UK workers than their European counterparts,” said Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands Gerard Coyne.

“The UK management has not presented a business case for closure which will be a body blow to the workers and the regional economy,” he added. “The strings are being pulled by the US headquarters management in Akron, Ohio. The closure is political, and not based on a coherent business case.

“That’s why we have asked for Sajid Javid to intervene with Goodyear in America, so that UK workers have a level playing field when their jobs could go to less productive, less profitable plants in either France or Germany.

“We will be seeking a legal review into the non-existence of a genuine consultation exercise – and, in the meantime, we are calling for the company to enter into meaningful talks,” Coyne went on to say.

Unite commissioned independent analysts, Syndex UK to examine the business case for closure and any alternatives that Goodyear may have considered – however, the management has refused point blank to release critical information.

Coyne highlighted that, based on the limited information that Syndex was allowed to examine, the conclusion was that there was no case for closure based on productivity, profitability or fluctuating exchange rates.

“In fact, Unite believes that with the right management and business decisions, Wolverhampton could be one of Goodyear’s most profitable European plants,” he said.

The factory mixes the rubber compounds for tyres, as well as re-treading tyres. The re-tread division is expected to close in mid-2016 and the rubber compounds by January 2017.


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