Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has vowed to campaign to reverse the decision by Antolin Interiors to close its factory in Hartlip, in Sittingbourne, Kent.

The 300 strong workforce were informed on (Monday 13 January) that the company intends to close the site, which produces parts for Jaguar Land Rover.

Unite which represents the vast majority of the workforce has not received any form of business case for why the site should close. The company has blamed the decision on falling sales volumes, the geographical location of the factory and Brexit has also been blamed.

Formal talks demanded

Formal talks over the proposed closure between Unite and the company’s management are due to begin on Wednesday 22 January.

The company has said that they plan to cease production and close the factory between May and December this year.

Viable future

Unite regional officer Mick Pollek said: “Unite believes that the Hartlip factory can and does have a viable future.

“Over recent years Unite has been working with Antolin Interiors to ensure that the site is viable. The union has not received any form of business case to justify the decision to close the factory.

“Antolin Interiors has a loyal and dedicated workforce many of whom have spent their entire working lives at the factory. To fail to look at all options in maintaining production would be decidedly shabby.

“The company needs to pause its proposal to close the factory, until all avenues to maintain production, are thoroughly explored, in full consultation with Unite.

“This area of Kent is in danger of being deindustrialised and this is yet another example of why the government must develop an active industrial strategy to preserve and enhance the UK’s manufacturing base.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235.

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org

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