More than 1,200 people have signed a petition against Goodyear’s plans to close its Wolverhampton plant – ending an 88-year association with the city.
Signatories from as far afield as the US, Nigeria and Mexico have added their names to a protest against proposals which would see 330 jobs axed.
The US-headquartered firm announced plans to close the plant by 2017 shortly after it closed its Dunlop Motorsport plant in Birmingham.
Workers, business and community leaders have appealed to Goodyear Dunlop bosses to reconsider the closure, which represents a blow to the region’s vital automotive supply sector.
People from across the globe have signed the petition on change.org.
Signatory Steve Woods, from Bristol, said: “Manufacturing should retain a presence in the West Midlands. Goodyear represents continuity in manufacture.”
Howard Moorey, of Stroud, added: “I’m signing because Goodyear Wolverhampton has been an integral part of the UK Motor Industry all of my life, 35 years of that life were spent in that industry, many around the Midlands. The loss of jobs is deplorable.”
Olivia Kitson, from Wolverhampton, said: “I’m signing because my dad works their and I believe it’s unfair to close down the company!”
Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne have both offered support in the wake of the proposed Goodyear factory closure.
It marks another major blow from Goodyear Dunlop, which has employed thousands of people in the region in manufacturing over decades – but plans to entirely cease production here.
Meanwhile, workers and union leaders have been angered by Wolverhampton workers being offered the opportunity to apply for roles in Mexico.
A notice appeared on the factory floor offering effected staff further opportunities with the firm more than 4,000 miles away at its new tyre plant in Central America.
Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds has campaigned against plans for the closure, saying the factory has remained “highly productive and profitable”.
But Ohio-based Goodyear’s proposals continue a trend of falling manufacturing in the region.
Tyres are no longer made at the Wolverhampton factory, which currently produces compounds for tyre factories overseas as well as retread tyres.
However, the raw materials for the compound mixing process are all imported, and the compounds are then exported to Goodyear plants abroad – which the firm says is no longer financially viable.
In announcing the cuts earlier this summer, Erich Fric, managing director, Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK, said he understood the impact the closure of Wolverhampton would have.
He added: “We will honour our responsibilities and will do everything we can to support all employees who are affected.
“In the face of ever-increasing competition, we carefully considered several options. However we believe these proposals are needed to strengthen our competitiveness and ensure we have a sustainable business.”
View the petition here: bit.ly/GoodyearPetition