Fresh hopes for the future of Bardon factory

Posted on 21 Feb 2019 and read 549 times
Fresh hopes for the future of Bardon factoryThere are fresh hopes that Plymouth’s Barden factory and the jobs of its 400 workers can be saved, after top executives from its German-based parent firm Schaeffler Group held ‘positive’ talks with the Minister of Defence Procurement (Stuart Andrew) in Westminster earlier this month.

Jurgen Ziegler, Schaeffler’s European chief executive, and Jon Everett, managing director of Barden UK (www.barden-uk.com), briefed the minister and local MP Johnny Mercer about Schaeffler’s continued commitment to the UK and gave assurances that a consultation process for Barden employees would remain open, while “alternative options to closure were being considered”.

They also had “constructive discussions with other local MPS and a representative of Plymouth City Council while in London.

They looked at the “best solution” for Schaeffler, its employees and the Plymouth community, but they also discussed the need to maintain a “professional level of planning”, should the plant have to close.

Following these meetings, Mr Mercer said: “I am committed to doing everything possible to safeguard this factory, which has been a part of Plymouth’s manufacturing scene for 50 years.

“I remain confident that all options are being explored, and I am hopeful.”

Schaeffler announced in November that it intended to shut the factory, which had operated for more than 51 years, and move production overseas within two years.

The factory produces precision bearings for cars, aircraft, the nuclear industry, missiles and satellites.

Schaeffler said it was undergoing a huge restructuring, which would also result in the closure of its base in Llanelli and the merger of logistics centres in Hereford and Sutton Coldfield, but it will retain a factory in Sheffield.

Only 15% of Schaeffler’s UK output remains in the country, while the vast majority is exported to continental Europe, so it proposed shifting production from Plymouth to plants in the USA, China, South Korea and Germany.

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