Pete Townshend, lead guitarist of The Who, has sent a letter supporting workers at the Tannoy speaker firm in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, who could face losing their jobs next month.
Townshend, whose songwriting hits include the band’s ‘Who Are You’ and ‘My Generation’, said the threatened closure of the factory which makes world-class speakers he uses for his recordings, “concerns me greatly” and that “the quality of the product will inevitably suffer without the skill and experience of the local workers.”
He says in the letter, dated 7 February, “I have used Tannoy speakers all my life in the recording studio...,Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Clash - we all used Tannoys to make our records that 50 years later still generate income and kudos for the UK.”
He also says, in the letter to Richard Leonard, Labour MSP for Coatbridge: “I am happy to support the workforce...in the campaign to keep the Tannoy tradition of long-established excellence alive. We need to retain production and development in the hands of the experienced and proven Coatbridge workforce.”
The company’s Scottish production plant which manufactures high-end speakers costing from £60,000 upwards used in the world’s leading music studios, is run by parent company Music Group.
However, Ude Adigwe, GMB Scotland organiser, said: “The workforce faces an uncertain future because its owners have failed to clarify if the plant will close or if production is being moved elsewhere in Scotland, or overseas.
“We have had very little communication from Music Group about their plans for the future. Staff are at a loss. The company talks about ‘potential’ but not intentions.
“The plant closure is scheduled for 31 March but we don’t know if that will happen.”
Mr Leonard said: “Pete Townshend knows it is the quality of the workmanship, the experience that comes with applying those skills, and the constant innovation built on tradition and know-how which makes the speakers made in Coatbridge so successful. It is a real boost in our campaign to retain these jobs to have Pete’s support.”
Music Group was contacted for comment but did not respond.