Union in fight against closure of Ericsson’s Coventry plant

Britain’s largest trade union has launched a campaign to stop the proposed closure of Ericsson’s research and development centre in Coventry.

Unite issued a call to business secretary Lord Mandelson, and the Swedish government, demanding they intervene to save the plant.

The proposed closure next year would see 700 jobs go, with work transferred to China. Unite called the proposal a “huge blow” to the UK economy.

Any closure of the site “will reduce the UK’s capacity in innovation, research and development of high tech communications”, seen by the government as one of the key areas of the future for the UK, it said.

Peter Skyte, Unite national officer for IT and communications, said the UK’s “capacity to compete” for future development work would be “diminished”.

Unite has requested a meeting with Lord Mandelson to see how the government can intervene in areas such as procurement contracts for government communications work, in particular contracts in secure communications and defence projects. It is also urging the government to reconsider the provisions for tax credits for research.

The union has written to Ericsson chief executive Carl-Henric Svanberg, pushing for discussion on the planned closure.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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