ERJ staff report (TP)
Birmingham, UK − Dunlop Motorsport is closing its Birmingham factory in eight months – leaving 300 tire jobs hanging in the balance, reported Graeme Brown for the Birmingham Post.
Production will end in May at the plant, ahead of a closure in September, and there is currently no alternative site in the city for work to transfer to.
It comes as a further blow to workers who have been left in the dark for the past seven months since Jaguar Land Rover bought the site.
While the company currently has nowhere to move to in Birmingham, marketing and communications director James Bailey said it was not a foregone conclusion that the jobs would be made redundant.
He said: “We have always said that first of all we wanted to stay in Birmingham, which is why we made a long-term offer to stay on the site.
“We have been looking at local options and have been working closely with Birmingham City Council and private property agencies to look at local sites.
“It is now down to the board to make a decision. Now we have got the information that there is a three-month extension that will help to make that decision more quickly.”
The company has not confirmed a date for the end of production, although Bailey confirmed that it would have to be in time to clear the site by September.
It is believed that there is a factory in France which production could be shifted to, but it does not have the full capacity of the Birmingham site.
The firm has been working with Birmingham City Council and Erdington MP (Member of Parliament) Jack Dromey to look at other sites, but no deal is in place and time is running out.
Bailey said Dunlop Motorsport’s board will now evaluate options.
“We have been negotiating with out landlords for an extension for some time now,” he said. “We have had confirmation that we can have a three-month extension. What we have done today is let our workers know – we understand it has been a difficult time for employees with all the uncertainty.
“Now we have got this information we will be having a board meeting.
“There are two things – first of all the extension allows us to supply products to customers for the 2014 season, and secondly now we have got this information the board can evaluate all the options and make a final decision.”
Jaguar Land Rover purchased the site from its landlord Northern Ireland Local Government pension scheme as part of ambitious expansion plans.
About 180 people work at Dunlop Motorsport on the site, near the firm’s TyreFort HQ, as well as a further 120 workers in other functions.
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Full story from the Birmingham Post