The loss of 300 jobs at Cooper Tires at Melksham, Wiltshire has been blamed on ‘cheap Chinese tyre imports’ by Unite, Britain’s and Ireland’s largest union, today (Friday 18 January).

Unite regional officer Tony Hulbert said: “We are blaming the continued dumping of cheap inferior tyres from countries, such as China, for the jobs losses at Melksham.

“Unite has campaigned against this phenomenon and has repeatedly urged the government to create a level playing field for tyre manufacturers in the UK.

“These inferior tyre imports are not only bad for road safety, but bad for UK jobs and manufacturing – as has been proved by this announcement.

“What also sticks in the gullet is that Cooper Tires constructed a purpose-built factory in Serbia, where labour costs are much cheaper than the UK, which is now going to take on the work from Melksham.

“What adds insult to injury is that our members went over to Serbia to train the workers there in production techniques – and now they have lost their jobs to them.

“We have spent recent months in talks with management to mitigate these job losses which total 312. We have been told that there will be no redundancies until June this year.

“Today’s announcement, which was heralded in October, is still a cruel blow for the workforce and their families and will have a very big adverse impact on the Wiltshire economy.

“We will give our members maximum support in the days and weeks ahead, and work constructively with the management to secure a viable future for the remaining workforce at Melksham.”

Cooper Tires is Melksham’s biggest employer with about 700 workers and currently makes tyres for cars, motorbikes and racing cars. It is the light vehicle tyre production which is being halted by the US firm.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065


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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.