By Denna Bowman
Cooper Tires has announced it is making up to 50 staff redundancies at its Melksham factory next month, blaming difficult trading conditions in Europe.
The tyres manufacturer, formerly part of the Avon group, has been an important local employer for many decades.
A company spokesman said: “Cooper Tire and Rubber Europe Ltd confirmed redundancies at its Melksham site, attributed to continuing difficult market conditions in Europe.
“Approximately 50 employees in the manufacturing operations area will be affected.
“Consultation with employee representatives has started, through the Works Council, and reductions will first be implemented through voluntary redundancy and early retirement, where possible.”
The spokesman added that redundancies were expected to take place at the end of September.
John McGookin, the regional officer for trade union Unite, said the redundancies were bad news, but not entirely unexpected due to falling sales.
He noted that the firm had struggled to sell seasonal tyres, due to the mild winter, and that its storage depot in Bowerhill was still fairly full.
Mr McGookin said: “Is is very disappointing, but we understand that the car industry is a fairly fickle employer and manufacturers are struggling nationwide.”
“We are led to believe that this was their strategy for 2013 anyway, but they have brought it forward due to problems trading in the Eurozone.”