Campaign fights closure of Rolls-Royce plant

The Prime Minister is expected to meet a trade union leader this week over concerns about the loss of 200 jobs at a Rolls-Royce factory earmarked for closure.

Tony Woodley, joint general secretary of Unite, said he had spoken to Gordon Brown and had asked him to "personally intervene" to stop the factory in Bootle, Merseyside, being shut.

The future of the plant, which makes turbines for the aviation industry, had been in doubt since the company launched a review in November last year.

Last week around 130 of the Rolls-Royce workers called for a ballot for industrial action following the announcement the plant would be shut. The ballot is expected to be held later this month.

Union leaders claim Rolls-Royce intends to transfer manufacturing to its plant in Mount Vernon in Ohio, United States.

Mr Woodley said: "We've got a company that's making massive profits, we've got a plant that is very profitable, its got good, strong order books and all we've got here is corporate greed."

A spokesman for Rolls-Royce said the decision to close the plant came following a review of workloads, UK labour costs and exchange rates.

He said both the Bootle plant, which was bought by Rolls-Royce in 1999, and the Mount Vernon factory are involved in the same process, packaging equipment for industrial uses. "There is not enough work for two plants and given the high costs in the UK and the exchange rate, we have made the decision to close the Bootle plant."

Image: Rolls-Royce faces possible industrial action over its closure plan

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