By Oliver Hall
The global downturn has claimed more jobs in the UK tyres industry as Cooper Tire and Rubber announced it is “realigning production” at its Melksham plant.
Up to 180 jobs are expected to be cut at the tyres plant – that is around 20 per cent of the 900-strong workforce – in response to current and anticipated customer demand.
Roy Armes, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: “The recent unprecedented increases in raw material and labour costs, and longer-term fundamental changes in the global economy were critical factors in our decision-making.
“This transition is seen as an important step in mitigating the effects of the current economic conditions on Cooper Tires and its customers.
“Difficult decisions like these are taken very seriously.
“After a thorough study, it was determined that the capacity reduction in Melksham is needed to improve our near-term operating efficiency while securing our longer-term strategic position.
“We understand the impact of this announcement on affected employees, their families and local communities and are committed to handling these moves with great sympathy and sensitivity.”
A company statement said: “Over the next 12 months the company will realign passenger tyre production, including the transfer of some US production to Melksham and the transfer of other Melksham production to Asia.”
Julian Baldwin, managing director and VP of European Operations for the Melksham factory, said: “After conducting a thorough review of our entire operation, the realignment of our production will improve the effectiveness of our global manufacturing footprint.”
The company made 46 employees redundant in June this year. Production was suspended for a week in February and the factory’s on-site fire service was shut down earlier this year.