Manufacturer to close two sites in UK amid Brexit uncertainty

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:27 06 November 2018

Schaeffler's factory in Llanelli Pic: Google


A manufacturing firm is to close two sites in the UK with "uncertainty" surrounding Brexit given as a factor behind the decision.

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler said the sites in Plymouth and Llanelli, South Wales, will close within two years.

It is understood that up to 500 jobs could be affected.

The German-owned company said production will be relocated to the United States, China, South Korea and Germany.

The company, which employs just over 1,000 workers in the UK, said its biggest site in Sheffield will be retained in its current form.

Work at two logistics centre in Hereford and Sutton Coldfield will be combined at Hereford.

Juergen Ziegler, Schaeffler's regional chief executive, Europe, said: "A global business needs to regularly review market conditions and strive to optimise its footprint across different regions.

"The proposed measures we have taken for the UK reflect this business reality. However, we remain committed to keeping certain activities in the UK, a country that will continue to be important to us.

"Brexit is clearly not the single decisive factor behind our decision-making for the UK market, but the need to plan for various complex scenarios has brought forward the timing."

Greig Littlefair, managing director of Schaeffler UK, said: "We are committed to having transparent and fair discussions with the employees affected by these proposals. We will also ensure our customers continue to be served and that these proposed changes create minimal disruption for them."

The Plymouth site mainly produces spindle bearings and machine parts for the firm's industrial division, while parts for car companies are manufactured at Llanelli.

Plaid Cymru's Welsh Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, Helen Mary Jones, said the closure of the Llanelli plant would lead to the loss of 220 jobs.

She said: "This will be the economic reality of Brexit. We need certainty on the negotiations before March.

"Without clarity we will be facing a blind Brexit, with the business-critical detail decided from a position of weakness outside Europe."

Labour MP Jo Stevens, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: "This is terrible news for all the workers in Llanelli and Plymouth as more people are losing their jobs, in part due to Brexit.

"Brexit is making Britain a less attractive place to operate and invest. The government's continued incompetent negotiations means it is playing roulette with our economy."

Unite's assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "This is yet another body blow for the UK's automotive supply chain and the wider car industry.

It should leave no-one in any doubt as to what is in store if the UK crashes out of the European Union without a deal that secures tariff-free frictionless trade.

"The uncertainty surrounding the Tories' shambolic handling of Brexit and their piecemeal industrial strategy is having real consequences. Behind the closures and the uncertainty currently gripping the car industry and component manufacturing are people with bills to pay and families to feed."

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.

Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European

If Yes, Name to appear in The New European

Latest Articles


Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.


Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy