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Transparency call

Questions asked over plant closure
Shaun Noble, Thursday, September 29th, 2016

Serious questions need to be asked about the reasons for the closure of General Electric Power Conversion plant in Kidsgrove, Staffordshire with the loss of about 240 jobs, Unite said yesterday (September 28).


Unite, which has 63 members at the West Avenue site, said it would be pressing the management hard to explain why what is believed to a profitable site will be closing next spring.


The union believes that the company wants to transfer the work to the German capital, Berlin.


“We don’t think that the management has explained in a coherent fashion why this plant needs to close next spring, with production ceasing in December,” said Unite regional officer Zoe Mayou.


“We want to know the business case for the closure with the loss of 246 jobs. We believe that the site is currently profitable and that the closure could be to do with a wider plan to transfer the work to Berlin.


“We think the workforce and the wider community need to know the reasons behind this – and we will be pressing very hard for transparency in the days and weeks ahead.


“Ultimately, we would like this multi-national company to reverse this decision and keep the production in Staffordshire,” Mayou argued.


“This news is a cruel blow for these dedicated workers and will have an adverse impact on the local economy and the wider supply chain.


“Unite will be offering maximum support to our members at this very difficult time for them and their families.”


Local MP Ruth Smeeth called the news “disappointing” and “heartbreaking” and vowed to work with Staffordshire and Newcastle councils to bring back the site under a new employer.


Unite is set to meet with management on Thursday to discuss the future for staff, who begin leaving from October 28 until March next year, with production set to end December.


Unite members work as administrators, assembly operatives, buyers, electrical engineers/technicians, maintenance staff and manufacturing workers.


General Electric employs more than 20,000 people in the UK across 60 sites.


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