Signing on soared as Goodyear closed

SIGNING on at the Lurgan social security office had to be suspended in October 1983.

This was due to the sudden influx of redundant Goodyear workers.

When the massive Silverwood plant closed its doors for the last time 773 workers were thrown on the dole.

Because of the landslide of benefit applications the signing on procedure was temporarily halted so that staff could deal with them.

The Goodyear closure marked the end of an era for Craigavon when its largest employer shut up shop for the last time.

For 16 years it provided badly needed jobs for the area and was often lauded as Craigavon’s industrial showpiece.

Yet even when the plant was employing over 1,000 at its peak, Goodyear Craigavon consistently failed to make a profit and this was eventually instrumental in his demise.

After a success of large scale redundancies over the previous few years, the crunch finally came in July when bosses announced they were about to pull out the plug on Goodyear Craigavon.

It was a devastating blow for the entire area and frantic negotiations ensued in an effort to change the industrial giant’s mind.

But the American bosses were unrepentant and a series of crisis talks, both in Craigavon and the firm’s UK headquarters in Wolverhampton, failed to bring a reprieve.