Goodyear closes only UK manufacturing plant

Posted on 26 Jun 2015 by Michael Cruickshank

US-based tyre manufacturer Goodyear Dunlop has today announced plans to close its sole manufacturing plant in the UK.

The company’s Wolverhampton site will be closed, resulting in loss of 330 jobs for the community.

In a statement Goodyear explained that the closure was necessary to help strengthen its competitiveness in the face of “a challenging business environment, increased competition and currency headwinds”.

Goodyear reportedly is planning to move its tyre production away from the UK towards other plants in Europe and also further afield.

At its height, Goodyear employed over 7000 workers at its Wolverhampton factory, however this number has been in decline for many years. According to the company, it will do its best to support the redundant workers.

“We understand the impact the closure of Wolverhampton would have. We will honour our responsibilities and will do everything we can to support all employees who are affected,” said Erich Fric, managing director, Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK.

Union outrage

Trade unions have been highly critical of the decision by Goodyear Dunlop to close this plant.

“The closure of the factory and the loss of hundreds of skilled manufacturing jobs will be a devastating blow to the economy,” explained Gerard Coyne Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands.

“It is disgraceful that Goodyear did not have the good grace to tell the workforce first and instead workers found out that they could be out of a job through the local media.”

They, alongside local government MPs have called for the company to reconsider their decision.

Relocation of manufacturing

This closure comes in the wake of the announcement of a large new Goodyear tyre plant to be built in Mexico.

Costing $550 million and employing 1000 workers, this plant will be able to produce 6 million tires a year.

Like many other manufacturers, Goodyear appears to be continuing the trend of moving production to the developing world, while closing factories in Europe and the US.