180 JOBS FEAR AT CAR PART FACTORY; Union talks over threat to Delphi.
MORE than 180 jobs are at risk at a Merseyside manufacturing plant.
Car parts firm Delphi has begun talks with trade union Unite over the future of its electronics factory in Kirkby.
Union chiefs claim the US multinational plans to close the plant with the loss of 181 jobs.
But today bosses said closure was not a foregone conclusion and discussions were ongoing.
Michigan-based Delphi is one of the world's largest car parts manufacturers.
Bosses said they were keeping an open mind about the plant's future.
But Unite said the staff "look certain" to lose their jobs and described the news as a "disaster" for British manufacturing.
Roger Maddison, Unite's national officer for motor components, said: "Our members have worked exceptionally hard to improve efficiencies and quality over the past few years to secure a future in Kirkby.
"But once again a UK plant has failed to secure new work against competition from lower cost economies.
"This is another disaster for British manufacturing.
"Should the company's plan go ahead, Unite will do everything it can to ensure our members receive generous redundancies from this global player."
Delphi's Kirkby site has a manufacturing facility employing 181 people and a design centre where 39 people work.
The discussions relate only to the manufacturing facility and will take place over 90 days.
Mark Shost, product line executive for Powertrain Electronics, which is a branch of Delphi, said: "In an effort to address an extremely competitive environment, Delphi entered discussions with unions and employees at its Kirkby site to determine the future of the company's Kirkby manufacturing plant.
"Employees at the Kirkby site were exceptional in their support of quality and efficiency. The site has also received strong co-operation from its unions.
"However, the competition in the automotive industry is exceptionally intense and the site was not able to secure new work on a competitive basis.
"Accordingly, as current customer contracts expire, the site has not been able to secure replacement business which would allow the plant to remain operational in the long term."
The plant at Kirkby has been operational for more than 10 years.
It makes electronic control units for the engines of cars, trucks and diggers.
Delphi employs 3,500 people across the UK.
JOB FEARS: The Delphi electronics site in Kirkby
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Aug 17, 2010|
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