By Oliver Hall
Morale at a UK tyres factory is described as having hit an “all time low” after an announcement that 200 employees will be made redundant by next summer.
And many workers at the Cooper Tires plant in Melksham were dismayed to have found out about job losses through media reports.
Some workers at the tyres plant had been told about the cut-backs on Monday, but others admitted they only read about it in the local paper later in the week.
Cooper Tires wants to make 20 per cent of its 900- strong workforce redundant by July 2010 and has launched a 90-day consultation.
It is blaming the decision on the rising labour and raw materials costs and the need to remain competitive.
One worker, who works night shifts at the factory, said he only found out about the redundancies by reading the Wiltshire Times website.
He said: “I think it’s pretty dismal that I’ve got to look on the Wiltshire Times website to find out that jobs are going. The way the company does things is terrible.
“There are four shifts at the moment and I reckon we’re going to go down to a three shift pattern.
“That means one in four people on the shop floor are going to lose their jobs.”
Another worker, arriving for his 6pm shift on Tuesday, was also unaware of the news, while a colleague said morale was at an “all time low”.
Workers called to the meeting at the staff canteen on Monday, said a feeling of gloom had set in.
One said: “It’s a cloud hanging over our heads. We’re all on tenterhooks.
“The union knew nothing about it. They weren’t even there for the meeting, they’re never really supportive. The whole factory just stopped and downed tools.”
A spokesman for the Unite union said they had only found out on Monday. He said: “It’s very early days, as we have only just been notified. It will be down to the officers to negotiate with the company and the shop stewards as to what is best for workers.”