Plane Deaths 'Not Linked' to Closure

The Birmingham Post (England), June 27, 2002 | Go to article overview

Plane Deaths 'Not Linked' to Closure


Byline: Philip Williams

The American company which is to close the former Massey Ferguson factory in Coventry yesterday denied that the decision stemmed from the deaths of two US executives in a plane crash in January.

A spokesman for Agco, which announced that tractor production is to end at Coventry with the probable loss of more than 1,100 jobs, said the decision was taken before the tragic January 4 crash at Birmingham International Airport in which two senior managers, including the chief executive, died.

The company, the world's third biggest manufacturer of agricultural machinery, said it made the decision at the back end of last year after an independent review of production, despite having made several decisions to invest in the plant only a short time earlier.

'The tragic accident had nothing to do with the decision to close the plant. The former chief executive was party to the overall strategy you see now,' said the spokesman.

The company denied that the decision was sudden and said it had been taken 'with regret and great care'.

Tuesday's announcement caused a wave of bitterness and anger among the workforce at the plant, which has been making Massey Ferguson tractors since 1946.

Yet the decision to close and shift production to France and Brazil was not entirely unexpected. …

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