By Katherine Clarkson
The Pirelli tyres plant in Carlisle has halted production for two weeks in bid to save jobs and survive the ‘spectacular fall in production’ suffered by the car industry.
Business Secretary Peter Mandelson pledged to support the tyres factory last week and described the planned shutdowns as “short-term measures to ensure its long-term existence.”
The BBC reported that Lord Mandelson said the government understood the importance of manufacturers like Pirelli in places like Carlisle, adding that assistance will be given to help them through the recession.
He said: “Pirelli has not asked the Government for a bail-out nor is the Government in the business of offering bail-outs. What we are doing is giving assistance to manufacturing companies, whose employment base means they are very important to regions and localities like Carlisle, to help them through the worst of this recession.”
The Cumberland News added that Lord Mandelson said he was confident Pirelli would ride out the economic storm and the Italian-owned firm would still be in Carlisle once the economy recovers.
In an official statement issued by the company Pirelli explained that the factory has been forced to close until March 4 to combat the effects of the global economic downturn. It is the second shutdown at the plant, which employs around 1,000 people, this year. Further shutdowns have not been ruled out.
It stated: “Pirelli Industrial in the UK has already taken steps to mitigate the effect on employees by reducing to zero overtime, an extended Christmas and New Year break, and announcing a further shutdown in February 2009.
Pirelli blamed the “spectacular fall in production experienced in the car industry” for the action.
Pirelli Industrial said it is confident that with the continuing support of its employees and unions, jobs and the long term future of both the Carlisle and Burton factories can be protected.