Cooper Tyre & Rubber Company Europe Limited, a subsidiary of Cooper Tyre & Rubber Company, has announced that it will enter a consultation period to explore ceasing light vehicle tyre production at its Melksham site in Wiltshire over a period of 10 months.
Subject to consultation, light vehicle tyres currently produced in Melksham may be obtained by Cooper Tyre Europe from other sites within Cooper’s global manufacturing footprint to meet customer needs.
The goal of the proposed change is to ensure Cooper Tyre Europe is best placed for future success in a cost-competitive, globalised environment.
Following consultation, if light vehicle tyre production at Melksham is phased out, approximately 300 positions out of 732 across Cooper Tyre Europe could ultimately be made redundant. Melksham would remain the home of Cooper Tyre Europe’s headquarters, sales and marketing offices, Europe Technical Centre and materials business. It is expected that production of motorsports and motorcycle tyres would also continue in Melksham.
Jaap van Wessum, General Manager – Cooper Tire Europe, said: “We know the prospect of making positions redundant is difficult for our colleagues and the local community to consider. Yet, for Cooper Tyre Europe to thrive into the long-range future, remaining a large Melksham-based employer, and meeting our obligations, we must explore obtaining light vehicle tyres from locations other than Melksham.”
“Pending consultation, if positions are made redundant, Cooper will remain committed to doing all we can to support those employees who may potentially be affected. We will be consulting with our recognised trade union, Unite, and other employee representatives, and have arranged additional support for affected colleagues, which will be available throughout this process. In addition, we will work closely with Wiltshire Council and the Department for Work and Pensions to provide the best possible support to our colleagues and community,” he added.
Jaap van Wessum explained the reason for the closure: “It is essential for Cooper to be globally competitive in the tyre industry. To deliver on our strategic growth objectives, we must produce quality light vehicle tyres in high volumes and at a competitive cost. Unfortunately, the Melksham site is an older, smaller facility that does not offer economies of scale and it is the highest cost facility in the global Cooper network. Due to facility age and location in the centre of town, it is our current view, subject to consultation, that it is not economically feasible to modernise or expand there for light vehicle tyre production.”