MELKSHAM, England — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. Europe Ltd. is moving ahead with plans to phase out light vehicle tire production at its Melksham plant, a move that will affect 300 jobs at the former Avon Tyres plant Cooper has operated since 1997.
The announcement comes four months after the Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. subsidiary notified workers at the plant it was considering the move.
The move, which will take place over the next 10 months, is geared to help Cooper Tire Europe enhance its competitiveness, Cooper said. The company plans to source light vehicle tires other sites within its global production network; the company produces car and light truck tires at one other European factory, in Krusevac, Serbia.
Employees whose roles will be eliminated will receive appropriate notice, enhanced separation pay and continued career services.
Cooper will retain about 400 jobs at Melksham to support functions that will continue there, including motorsports and motorcycle tire production, a materials business, Cooper Tire Europe headquarters and sales and marketing, and the Europe Technical Center.
"We are doing all possible to assist impacted employees as we take this necessary step to enhance Cooper Tire Europe's competitiveness, enable our growth plans and secure a sustainable long-term future for our business," Jaap van Wessum, general manager – Cooper Tire Europe, said.
Cooper cited the factory's age and location in the center of town as reasons that it believes make the site not economically feasible to modernize or expand for light vehicle tire production.
Cooper took over the plant as part of its 1997 acquisition of Avon Rubber P.L.C.