Page last updated at 20:47 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Taskforce to help Ericsson staff

The Ericsson Partnership taskforce meeting
The taskforce said the Swedish firm was keen to work with it

Politicians and business leaders have set up a taskforce to help 700 Ericsson workers who face losing their jobs.

On Tuesday the technology firm said it would be shutting its Ansty Park site, near Coventry, in favour of moving its development arm to cheaper countries.

The government is also talking to the Swedish firm to try to stop the move.

The Ericcson Partnership taskforce met earlier and will be similar to the Peugeot Partnership, set up after the closure of car firm's Ryton site.

'Sense of shock'

That group helped find new opportunities for workers.

The Ericsson Partnership is made up from representatives from the city, borough and county councils, along with local business leaders.

It is chaired by Dr Brian Woods-Scawen, who previously chaired the Peugeot Partnership.

We will find investors and bring them here, and that work will progress with or without Ericsson
Dr Brian Woods-Scawen, chairman of the Ericsson Partnership taskforce

He said: "We have come together with a sense of shock and no-one expected this news.

"Everyone saw this investment as crucial to the future of our economy.

"But despite the news this week we believe in the future of Ansty as an international centre for research and as a driver of the regional economy."

Mr Woods-Scawen said in addition to helping staff through the "present uncertainty" he was committed to ensuring the workers were employed on the site.

He said Ericsson had agreed to meet the partnership and had assured it no-one would be asked to leave the site until the middle of 2010.

House of Commons

He said as medical technology, nano-technology and new materials developed, it would generate demand for further research and development.

"Ansty is perfect for that work and we will find investors and bring them here, and that work will progress with or without Ericsson," he added.

The factory closure issue was raised by Coventry MPs Jim Cunningham and Geoffrey Robinson in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Consumer Affairs Minister Kevin Brennan said talks were taking place.



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