New blow for UK automobile business as European components factories shut | Enterprise

Greater than 1,400 British jobs are in danger after two European suppliers of automobile components, Schaeffler and Michelin, introduced plans to shut UK factories in a blow to the broader automotive business forward of Brexit.

Schaeffler, the German automobile components provider, mentioned uncertainty surrounding Brexit had contributed to its choice to shut two UK factories, in Llanelli, Wales, and Plymouth, the place 570 persons are employed. The corporate mentioned the closures would happen over the following two years.

French tyremaker Michelin introduced plans to shut its manufacturing facility in Dundee in 2020, practically 50 years after it opened and the place 845 persons are employed. It blamed dwindling demand for smaller tyres. It mentioned the choice was unrelated to the Brexit vote.

At Schaeffler’s plant in Plymouth, a workforce of 350 individuals makes bearings and machine components for the agency’s industrial division in addition to the aerospace and defence industries.

At Llanelli, about 220 persons are employed to make mechanical components and bearings for the most important automobile producers and different industrial suppliers. The corporate mentioned it could relocate manufacturing from the 2 UK factories to current vegetation within the US, China, South Korea and Germany.

The union Unite mentioned it could “struggle for each job” because it tries to avert the closures.

Tony Burke, assistant normal secretary, mentioned: “That is yet one more physique blow for the UK’s automotive provide chain and the broader automobile business. It ought to go away nobody in any doubt as to what’s in retailer if the UK crashes out of the European Union and not using a deal that secures tariff-free frictionless commerce.

“The uncertainty surrounding the Tories’ shambolic dealing with of Brexit and their piecemeal industrial technique is having actual penalties. Behind the closures and the uncertainty presently gripping the automobile business and part manufacturing are individuals with payments to pay and households to feed.”

The broader UK automobile business has repeatedly urged the federal government to make frictionless commerce a precedence in Brexit negotiations or danger the lack of hundreds of UK jobs.

Schaeffler presently employs greater than 1,000 individuals within the UK and mentioned its manufacturing facility in Sheffield would stay open, whereas operations at its two logistics centres in Sutton Coldfield and Hereford could be mixed in Hereford.

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Michelin mentioned it was now not financially viable to maintain its Dundee manufacturing facility open due to a fall in demand for premium tyres of 16-inches and smaller, that are made on the website. It additionally blamed a shift in that market to low-cost variations made in Asia.

John Reid, manufacturing facility supervisor at Michelin Dundee, mentioned: “I perceive that these proposals will come as an enormous blow to our workers and to town of Dundee as a complete. It’s additionally a really private blow for me.

“This manufacturing facility has confronted extremely robust challenges earlier than and now we have come via because of the laborious work and adaptability of our individuals and the union, and the backing of the Michelin group. Nonetheless, the marketplace for the smaller tyres we make has modified dramatically and completely, and the corporate has to handle these structural adjustments.”

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