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Cooper closes Wiltshire factor in US-China Trade war

The tyremaking industry has been hit by the news that Cooper Tire of the US is to close its Wiltshire factory with the loss of 300 jobs.

Cooper said the plant in Melksham, formerly Avon Rubber, where tyres have been made since the 1890s, is to shut because productivity is worse than at its other plants around the world. Production is being switched to other sites, including in Serbia. Cooper said that 400 other jobs in Melksham, in white-collar functions and making motorcycle tyres, would be unaffected.

Jaap van Wessum, general manager at Melksham, insisted that the decision to close the plant and lay off workers was unrelated to Brexit and the fears for cross-border trade after Britain leaves the EU.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Company Europe says it intends to remain in Melksham, but that the company needs to look to the future.

The company has begun an eight-week consultation period with employees and unions to explore ceasing light vehicle tyre production at Melksham over a 10-month period.

The company says that light vehicle tyres for 4x4s, SUVs, vans and cars no longer produced in Melksham may come from other global sites in the USA, China, Mexico and Serbia.

The loss of the car tyres division is likely to lead to up to 300 redundancies from a 732-strong workforce.

The Times