Pledges made to give Kodak’s Morley factory staff full support

JOB LOSSES  Kodak plans to close its factory in Morley by late 2015.
JOB LOSSES Kodak plans to close its factory in Morley by late 2015.

Emergency meetings have been taking place to discuss plans to close Kodak’s Morley factory with the loss of 200 jobs.

The company announced last week it was to close the site in Howley Park Road Estate by late 2015, with the first jobs expected to go this summer.

The decision has been met with dismay by the union Unite, councillors and Morley MP Ed Balls, who have all vowed to help employees.

Coun Neil Dawson said: “I am very concerned about the effect it will have on both workers at the plant and the local economy.

“This is why I am determined that we, as the local authority, do everything with our powers to make sure people receive all the support and guidance they need.

“I am meeting with Unite personally and we will be holding detailed discussions with Kodak to outline our concerns and also show them what we can do as a council to assist the individuals involved.”

Unite regional officer Chris Daly said: “We’re asking Kodak what the reasons behind their decision are so we can engage in consultation.

“Kodak is an exporter and is bringing money into this country, trying to rebuild the market place.

“This is a big blow for the UK as well as the 200 people at the site.

“They need to explain their decision and the need to change their decision.”

A spokeswoman for Kodak said: “We take the closure of this plant very seriously indeed.

“Our priority is to ensure that all our employees and colleagues are fully supported during this difficult period and as such we have engaged with our internal union representatives and other senior figures in the region.

“This is in no way a reflection of the expertise and productivity of this particular site, but a decision taken on a world-wide basis to better serve our customers in each of their markets.”

Morley MP Ed Balls and prospective parliamentary candidate Andrea Jenkyns have both met with the company since the closure announcement.

Mr Balls (Lab) said: “I met with Kodak bosses and Unite and we’re all doing what we can to see if jobs can be saved and support workers. I’m also hoping to meet the Business Secretary about the national impact from the loss of manufacturing jobs.”

Ms Jenkyns (Con) said: “I have had a meeting with the managing director of Eastman Kodak and I have been told the Government will do all they can to support those facing redundancy, as will I.”