GE bosses considering plan to keep under-threat Technology Drive site open - The Rugby Observer

GE bosses considering plan to keep under-threat Technology Drive site open

Rugby Editorial 25th Jan, 2019   0

GENERAL Electric (GE) bosses are considering a proposal to keep its Technology Drive Power Conversion site open.

In November, GE announced plans to cease manufacturing at the 250-employee site and move production to a plant in Nancy, France by the end this year.

A consultation on the plan has now extended beyond the 90-day minimum period while managers consider a counter-proposal from employee representatives that would allow the site to stay open.

Unite the Union regional officer Zoe Mayou said: “The company need one to two weeks to study this and run some financial models to see how it would work – therefore consultation remains open for the time being.”

A GE spokeswoman confirmed: “We are still in the consultation process and no decision has been made at this time.”

No details of the counter-proposal have been revealed.

During a recent visit to the site, Shadow Defence Minister Nia Griffith said its manufacturing capability, part of the Royal Navy’s procurement supply chain, was ‘strategically significant’.

She said: “I’m impressed by the quality of the engineering and manufacturing that happens here.

“It’s a unique facility and an essential part of the UK’s defence procurement. It’s essential that we maintain this sovereign capability.”

Shadow Defence Minister Nia Griffith MP (centre right) was joined on her visit to the GE Power Conversion site by (left to right) Simon Pettitt, Ish Mistry, Unite representative Steve Kerr, Labour’s local Parliamentary candidate Debbie Bannigan, John McAuslan, Richard Owens and Amrat Mistry.

Steve Kerr, Unite representative and member of the GE European Works Council, added: “It’s crucial to the sovereign capability and freedom of action that is required by the Royal Navy. Only with a sound industrial policy will this nation prosper.”

Debbie Bannigan, Labour’s local Parliamentary candidate, said engineering was part of Rugby’s heritage and should be its future too.

She said: “This capability is unique and essential to our defence industry. Some decisions can be left to the marketplace but some – like this one – are far too important for that.”

The site’s future was first thrown into doubt last June, when a £1.3billion plan to build the world’s first tidal power lagoon in Swansea Bay – for which GE in Rugby was to supply the turbines – was thrown out by the government.

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