Birmingham Dunlop workers 'in the dark' over their future

Dunlop Entrance Dunlop will close its Birmingham factory after 125 years of manufacturing tyres in the city

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Staff at Dunlop's Birmingham factory feel they are being kept "in the dark" about their future, the BBC has been told.

About 240 workers face unemployment when the company closes its Castle Bromwich plant later in the year.

The firm announced in February it would leave the site on 1 September - ending 125 years of tyre-making in the city.

It said consultations with staff were ongoing and it was taking steps to help them find work.

'Panic setting in'

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told BBC WM the uncertainty had made it "terribly difficult".

The challenges facing Dunlop staff

The worker who spoke to BBC WM said some staff at the Castle Bromwich plant had worked there for over 20 years and had little experience of hunting for jobs in a modern setting.

"It's no good telling people to bring in a CV to have it checked over and we'll tell you what amendments to make because they don't know how to do a CV in the first place," he said.

Jack Dromey said there was a long tradition of local families working at the plant, and Dunlop quitting the area would be "devastating".

"This has been sons and daughters following dads and mums into the factory for 125 years," he said.

"The communication between management and shop-floor staff has been terribly limited and people feel they've been left in the dark," he said.

He added plans for job workshops and help with CVs had been announced to assist staff to find work.

"But nothing's been confirmed and panic's really setting in," he said.

Dunlop's marketing manager James Bailey said a jobs fair would take place next Friday in a bid to introduce workers to other employers.

He confirmed employees would be helped with job applications.

"We have found ourselves in a position we didn't want to be in," he said.

"We made a long-term offer for to stay on our site for the next 10 years but our landlord didn't accept that offer.

"Our only alternative was to move production."

Erdington Labour MP Jack Dromey said the company's measures were "late in the day" but he welcomed "anything to help" staff.

Dunlop worker The firm is switching production to France and Germany

"What they must do is say to their workforce 'the least we can do is repay our debt of loyalty to you and to ensure you don't end up on the dole'," he said.

"That's the least the workers deserve."

Mr Bailey said a "very unusual set of circumstances" had forced the company to leave Castle Bromwich but it would continue to invest in its Erdington and Wolverhampton sites.

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