MP Ed Balls takes Kodak jobs threat to Vince Cable

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The battle to save a Morley firm earmarked for closure with the loss of 200 jobs has been taken to the Secretary of State for Business.

Morley MP Ed Balls said he contacted Vince Cable about the decision to close the Morley based Kodak, which will lead to 200 employees losing their jobs.

“I wrote to Vince Cable, the &&& Secretary and I am planning a meeting with him and the business department as soon as possible.”

He said: “I have also spoken with Phil Ball, the Managing Director of Eastman Kodak and representatives from Unite when the announcement was initially made.

The shock announcement about the closure of the Howley Park Road Estate site was made in early March this year.

It was said the site would be closed by late 2015, with the first jobs to go this summer.

It said it had upgraded its sites in Germany and China and would phase out production in Morley over the next 18 months.

The Morley factory makes printing plates for the commercial printing industry and its work is to start moving to other sites later this year.

It said its employees would be offered separation benefits and transition services.

Kodak’s decision to close an apparent profitable site was met with dismay by its staff, union Unite, local councillors and Mr Balls.

Mr Balls said he believes discussions need to be had globally with the firm in New York as well as in the UK.

He said: “It is very important that we show them that we will do anything we can to get them to look at it again, closely.

“The meeting will also discuss what will happen if the closure does go ahead.

“Kodak in the UK is a profitable business and it will be a loss to the UK economy if it does close.

“We are determined to do anything we can to see if we can dissuade them from their decision for the needs of those people who are working in Morley. That is at the very top of our list of priorities.”

Mr Balls said that if, at the end of the consultation, the decision is made to go ahead with the closure then every effort must be made to make sure the workforce is helped.

He said: “We will have to ensure that people are moved onto new jobs or at least provide them with the training that is needed to keep them in employment.

“We need to make sure that these skilled people are not short changed.

“Kodak must ensure all the options have been explored to save jobs.

“Kodak in Morley is a profitable business and doing well. We need to make sure the right decision is made and the company keeps running in Britain.”