UP TO 170 workers are to be made redundant at an automotive engineering firm in Ayrshire. Mahle Engine Systems employs 400 people at its factory in Kilmarnock.
The German-owned company said the jobs would be lost with the closure of the site’s finishing operations, set for January.
The firm cited “the continued difficult market environment and associated overcapacity in the area of bearings production in Europe” for the job losses.
The Kilmarnock plant makes high-quality bearing shells for motorsport engines, plus products for combustion engines and electric vehicles.
Mahle said Kilmarnock would focus on the production of materials and racing components in the future.
Matthias Langbein, director of bearings Europe, said he “deeply regretted” the effect on employees.
In a statement, the company said: “Due to the continued difficult market environment and associated overcapacity in the area of bearings production in Europe, the Mahle Group proposes a consolidation of its European bearings plants. As a consequence it is proposed a part of the bearings production, the Finishing Unit at Mahle Engine Systems UK Ltd in Kilmarnock, will be closed by the end of January 2016.
“The main reason behind the proposal is the sustained weak market situation for bearings products resulting in continued overcapacity across Mahle Group’s European bearings plants.”
The company has 66,000 employees in 30 countries around the world.
Directors of the firm told a meeting of the workforce yesterday morning that the redundancy process will be completed by 31 January.
Unite regional officer Jim Winter said: “This is a devastating development. We have been told by management over the last 18 months that the future of the site’s various operations were not under threat.
“We have been providing support for our members and will continue to do so over the coming days. We demand an immediate meeting with Mahle’s directors to establish why this has happened despite their previous denials.
“Once again we are in a situation where British workers are told without any meaningful consultation they are out of a job, thanks in no small part to our abject employment laws. We cannot go on like this.”