Wolverhampton City Council has begun plans for a Goodyear taskforce to help employees who are expected to lose their jobs after the iconic city employer announced plans to close its plant. Goodyear revealed it intended to shut its Stafford Road site and end its 88-year association with Wolverhampton.

The Council, MP Emma Reynolds, Job Centre Plus, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and Local Enterprise Partnership, held an emergency meeting at Wolverhampton Civic Centre.

While encouraging Goodyear to explore other options that mean it can stay in the city, a potential taskforce is being lined up to put in place practical measures for those facing the threat of redundancy, should it be required.

Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the Council, said: “We cannot stress enough how much we hope Goodyear reconsider this proposal to close the factory.

“Goodyear has been in the city for decades and there are many families who have been left shocked and devastated by this news.

“Should the worst happen we must find a way forward for those affected by the proposed closure in January 2017.

“A taskforce would provide practical support to those facing redundancy and help them find new opportunities in the city, where a number of companies are growing thanks to our regeneration efforts, which are starting to bear fruit.”

Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds added: “I called for an urgent meeting with Goodyear and I met with the senior management yesterday afternoon. I urged them to reconsider their decision. I have spoken both to trade union representatives and some Goodyear workers. I understand that the factory is both highly productive and profitable.

“The announcement came as a shock and is a bitter blow for the company’s employees, their families and our city. Their workers are highly skilled, hardworking and committed. The factory’s industrial relations have been exemplary even during the recession when employees worked shorter hours to help the company.

“We hope there might still be a possibility the company will reconsider its decision and we will be working with both the company’s management and trade unions to find a way forward.

“In the meantime, should redundancies happen, we are working towards establishing a support taskforce – and we would also encourage Goodyear to be part of that.”