The Government has been urged to step in to save 700 West Midland jobs as unions intensified the fight over the closure-threatened Ericsson plant at Coventry.

Unite officers were meeting Pat McFadden, minister of state at the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills, to ask him to intervene to rescue the R&D plant at Ansty Park.

Ericsson’s decision to close the site and transfer the work to other European countries, including Italy and former eastern European states, as well as exporting R&D work to China, marks a huge blow to the Coventry area.

Local MPs Jim Cunningham and Geoffrey Robinson were accompanying Unite officers and calling on Pat McFadden to intervene in areas such as procurement contracts for government communications work – in particular contracts in secure communications and defence/security projects.

Unite is concerned that the closure of the site will reduce the UK’s capacity in innovation, research and the development of hi-tech communications which is seen by the Government as one of the key areas of the future for the UK.

Kevin O’Gallagher, Unite lead officer, said: “Unite is determined to save this plant in Coventry. We will be asking the Government to back UK workers and help us put pressure on Ericsson to keep the Ansty site open.”