70 jobs under threat after Tannoy backtracks over relocation

Tannoy stereo speaker factory, Coatbridge.
Paul McNeilly - supervisor.
Tannoy stereo speaker factory, Coatbridge. Paul McNeilly - supervisor.
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Up to 70 jobs are under threat after high-end speaker firm Tannoy failed to honour its commitment to relocate to a new site in Scotland, one of the UK’s biggest unions has said.

GMB Scotland said senior managers at Tannoy’s Scottish production site in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, have been put on ‘gardening leave’ and had their emails blocked while workers have been urged to sign individual redundancy settlements by 13 January, ahead of the plant’s closure in March 2017.

The plant produces cutting-edge speakers costing from £60,000 upwards used by music studios world-wide. The facility is staffed by engineers and also has a specialist acoustic research unit.

Tannoy, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, was founded as the Tulsmere Manufacturing Company in 1926. It has operated in Coatbridge since the 1970s.

In April Uli Behringer, head of Tannoy’s parent company, Music Group, said it was closing its Scottish operation due to cost implications and moving operations to China.

However, in September Mr Behringer said the company was considering opening a new plant in Scotland, developing a new line of units, with Strathclyde Business Park a suggested location.

Speaking at the time he said: “Tannoy was facing great economic pressures and we believe that our plan will ensure the longevity of the brand. We are planning to relocate manufacturing to a new plant in Scotland which will deliver modernised and streamlined operations while continuing our involvement in local communities providing employment in the region.”

Ude Adigwe, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “Uli Behringer is leading his workers and the media up the garden path over his real intentions for Tannoy’s Scottish operations.

“He is stonewalling his employees and instead of addressing their concerns demoralised workers now have to forward questions concerning their futures to an HQ call centre in Manila.

“With local management having been effectively routed by Behringer, it looks like the Coatbridge plant is simply being run-down ahead of March with no real prospect of a new site.

“The least he can do for this highly skilled and loyal workforce is to come clean for Christmas.”

Richard Leonard, MSP, Scottish Labour economy spokesman, said: “I have repeatedly raised the plight of the Tannoy workers and the case for retaining Tannoy production in Scotland in the Parliament with Ministers and have raised questions again this week with Scottish Enterprise.

“I am concerned at the way the owner in Manila is dealing with simple requests for information from the GMB trade union on behalf of the workforce in Coatbridge.

“I am calling today for the Scottish Government to step in. We need to end the uncertainty surrounding the future of these working people’s livelihoods and the manufacture of the Tannoy brand.”

The Music Group was contacted but did respond.