Up to 80 jobs are at risk at tyre-giant Pirelli after it announced plans to ‘reorganise’ part of its operations in Staffordshire.
The company – which employs around 380 people at its site in Derby Road, Burton – has launched a consultation with affected employees about the plans to shrink its workforce.
The firm says the decision has been based on the ‘challenging economic outlook, compounded by the covid-19 emergency.’
In a statement to StaffordshireLive, Pirelli said: “Pirelli reaffirms its commitment to the UK and to maintaining industrial operations at both its UK locations, Carlisle and Burton, having invested 70 million euro from 2018 to 2020 and proceeding with planned investments of around 20 million euro in 2021.
“Considering the challenging economic outlook, compounded by the covid-19 emergency, Pirelli will reorganise one department at Burton.
“Last year the critical economic and healthcare situation led to a decline of 29.4 per cent of new car registrations in the UK (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) and a fall in car usage, which at the end of January was down -48.3 per cent compared with a year earlier (Department of Transport).
“The company will now initiate a period of consultation with the unions to ensure that all necessary support is provided to affected workers.
“For Pirelli, the UK operation remains a valuable part of the group’s global industrial footprint and central to the service of local customers.”
Union bosses at Unite – which represents around 280 workers at the company’s Burton plant – say Pirelli’s announcement is ‘another employment hammer blow’ to the town.
It also criticised the company for not taking up the furlough scheme for workers, instead of pushing ahead with redundancies.
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Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The job retention scheme was specifically introduced to prevent Covid-19 related redundancies. Unite is bitterly disappointed that the Pirelli bosses have started to consult on redundancies in Burton-on-Trent, rather than furlough the workers concerned for the maximum time possible.
“This is another hammer blow adding to the jobs’ misery in the town. Well-paid, skilled jobs are extremely hard to find.
“Once again, we see jobs slipping away because of the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s failure to announce an extension to the JRS – Burton’s plight is mirrored in similar towns across the country.
“There are virtually no advertised vacancies in Burton paying above £10.50 an hour. The town’s geographical position means that Burton has attracted a multitude of warehousing jobs all paying low wages.
“The loss of the Kerry Foods factor y in 2019, employing 900 people, is still keenly felt in the town.”