MP to meet government minister in bid to save 300 jobs at SKF plant in Luton

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‘We need to save these skilled jobs in Luton, they are worth fighting for’

Luton North MP Sarah Owen is to meet a leading Government Minister in a bid to save 300 jobs – after plans to close the town’s SKF plant were announced.

She secured a meeting with Nusrat Ghani, Minister of State at the Department for Business and Trade, following a speech in Parliament on Wednesday, later tweeting: “The Minister has promised a meeting with me and SKF workers. We need to save these skilled jobs in Luton, they are worth fighting for.”

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The MP had urged company bosses and government ministers ‘to do all they can to ensure our town has a manufacturing future as strong as its past’.

Speaking about the threatened closure, she said: “SKF announced last month its plans to close the Luton plant and move production to Poznan in Poland by end of 2024. This is devastating for our town and local economy and could see the loss of up to 300 jobs.

"I went to meet with workers and Unite the union; all were deeply concerned about the sudden closure. They told me they that throughout Covid they were considered key workers; they operated and worked throughout, putting their safety behind that of production for the good of the company and for the good of the economy.

“Generations have worked there in Sundon Park, thousands have given their best working days to that business only for SKF’s board members to turn their back on them and for this government to turn its back on the manufacturing workers.

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“I’m pleased to see the Minister was keen to take up other members’ offers to visit other constituencies so would the Minister please commit to meet with me and workers from SKF who are facing losses of their jobs and to see how we can save SFK’s future in Luton?”

The SKF plant in Luton is threatened with closure and the loss of 300 jobsThe SKF plant in Luton is threatened with closure and the loss of 300 jobs
The SKF plant in Luton is threatened with closure and the loss of 300 jobs

Luton South MP Rachel Hopkins also spoke in the debate in Parliament. She said: "I was pleased to meet the Minister recently to talk about the importance of the automotive sector to Luton and the need for a long-term strategy to safeguard the industry and good jobs in our town.”

But she added: “Government inaction, which we are debating today, threatens the future of the automotive industry and of Vauxhall in Luton, particularly the future of its electric vehicles."

SKF, which manufactures roller bearings, revealed plans to move its operations to Poland, by the end of 2024.

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The company has been in the town for over 110 years, but manufacturing in Luton would be scaled down if plans are approved. The move to a factory in Poznan in Poland would be followed by the closure of its Sundon Park Road manufacturing site.

SKF said it would keep its UK headquarters in the town, which employs 70 people.

Michael Crean, managing director for SKF (UK) Ltd, had stressed that the UK management team would strive to offer the right level of support to all employees.

He said: “I would like to express my personal appreciation for the commitment and dedication our employees have shown. They can feel rightly proud of the achievements they have made.”

The proposed plans from SKF will be reviewed by employees and union representatives.

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