New front opens in battle to save Volvo Irvine plant

Unions at Volvo’s Irvine truck and bus plant are to widen their campaign to save the 450 jobs at the Ayrshire plant. The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) intends to approach unions at Volvo’s UK customers to gauge support for Volvo’s continued manufacturing presence at Irvine. Following the takeover of its passenger car business […]

Unions at Volvo’s Irvine truck and bus plant are to widen their campaign to save the 450 jobs at the Ayrshire plant.

The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) intends to approach unions at Volvo’s UK customers to gauge support for Volvo’s continued manufacturing presence at Irvine.

Following the takeover of its passenger car business by Ford, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer said it was pulling out of Irvine, its only UK manufacturing site, and switching production to Belgium and Sweden. Volvo subsequently agreed to work with the Government and local enterprise agencies to keep some kind of engineering facility at the site.

‘Volvo is still the largest supplier to the UK market,’ said Alfie McDougall, AEEU convenor at Irvine.

According to the union, 55% of the UK coach fleet is over 10 years old, as are 8 out of 10 local authority buses. ‘If public transport policy favours buses, the industry could open up. But the biggest supplier would have no UK manufacturing base, leading Volvo customers to source from elsewhere,’ said McDougall.

The move follows a meeting between unions and Volvo Truck’s head of global manufacturing, Lars Ake Jevert.

At the meeting, Jevert confirmed Volvo’s intention to withdraw from the plant.

* The number of truck makers is forecast to halve to five main global players by 2003. The Economist Intelligence Unit says two of the top five manufacturers will be in China.

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