Tyre manufacturer Goodyear has announced a decision to close its only UK manufacturing plant.
All 300 workers at the Wolverhampton factory are expected to lose their jobs. They have said that they are "disgusted, upset and angry" in response to the news.
Not only does the closure mean a significant loss of jobs to the area – it also represents the region's manufacturing industry as a whole, say sources.
The Wolverhampton premises has been in operation since 1927. In 1939, the company switched to war production and, at its height, the factory employed 7,000 workers. It is expected to close by mid 2017.
Speaking to the BBC, Trevor White, who has worked at the factory for 40 years said that the closure would be "another nail in the coffin for the manufacturing industry in Wolverhampton.
Wayne Devaney, who has been employed at the plant for 27 years said the announcement was a surprirse to the team, who had been working hard to make the factory productive.
He explained that the workforce had "grafted really hard and done everything it could to make the factory viable," adding that the news had "come out of the blue."
Goodyear says it had considered all options before deciding to shut.
Managing director of Goodyear Dunlop Tyres UK, Eric Fric, blamed the closure on a variety of issues, including inexpensive imports, the cost of transport and the strength of the pound.
Goodyear's plans are subject to consultations with staff and unions and the company said it was 'determined to find responsible and fair solutions for all affected employees. Wolverhampton City Council has set up a task force to support staff and a spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said it would be working with the council to help workers find jobs.
Cyril Barret, chairman of Goodyear's branch of the Unite trade union, called the closure "devastating".
"When you review it, the performance of the workforce, the Goodyear management globally were bringing people in here to witness the transformation of the plant, its improvement in productivity," he said, adding that the workforce was trusted to deliver products all over Europe.
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