Schaeffler’s European CEO, Jurgen Ziegler held positive talks in London yesterday (Wednesday) with the Minister of Defence Procurement, Stuart Andrew MP on the proposed closure of Schaeffler’s Plymouth manufacturing facility; the Barden Corporation UK Ltd, together with the Plymouth Manufacturing Facility’s MP Johnny Mercer and Managing Director of Barden UK Jon Everett.
The talks were to reassure the Minister of Schaeffler’s continued commitment to UK programmes and to provide assurance that the Consultation process for Barden employees would remain open whilst alternative options to closure were being considered.
Constructive discussions were also held later with the three Plymouth MPs; Sir Gary Streeter, Johnny Mercer and Luke Pollard together, as well as Nina Sarlaka from Plymouth City Council. All parties were aligned on the need to aim for a positive outcome that would provide the best solution for Schaeffler, their employees, and the Plymouth community; whilst recognising the need to maintain a professional level of planning should the closure proposal be enacted.
Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, said: “I am committed to doing everything possible to safeguard this factory which has been a part of Plymouth’s manufacturing scene for fifty years. I will do all I can, working with other elected representatives from the area along with Plymouth City Council to bring clarity to the situation for the brilliant people who work there, and stability to this important part of Plymouth’s economy. Today was a good day; I remain confident that all options are being explored, and I am hopeful.”
Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: “Plymouth has a world class manufacturing base and I’m determined to work cross party to secure jobs at Barden and ensure that production continues in Plymouth. There is a glimmer of light at the tunnel for Barden workers. I made it clear to the CEO of Schaeffler that there is strong cross party support for protecting these jobs and he was left in no doubt about our resolve to find a positive solution for Barden’s workers and for our city.”
Sir Gary Streeter, MP for South West Devon, said: “A good day. I remain optimistic for this important part of Plymouth’s manufacturing economy.”
Plymouth City Council Leader Tudor Evans said: “Everyone has been working very hard to find a solution to avoid the proposed closure. This is hugely important as Barden are a critical component of Plymouth’s manufacturing sector, which contributes approaching £900 million to the city’s economy. We had a positive meeting with the company and the city’s MPs in London and the Council will continue to do everything within its gift to help safeguard the employees there.”