Taskforce set up to find a future for Schaeffler plant
A TASKFORCE has been set up to help find a future for Schaeffler’s Bynea plant.
Lee Waters, AM for Llanelli, has welcomed the move by First Minister Carwyn Jones in the battle to keep 220 jobs in the town.
Mr Waters met Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates last week to urge him to act on finding a future for Schaeffler, which stands on the site of the old INA Bearings factory in Bynea, and its workers.
Following his call, Welsh Government officials have stepped in and are working with the company in a bid to get an agreement on setting up a taskforce.
Mr Jones said on Tuesday during a session at the Senedd that the firm had pledged to work with the Welsh Government on a taskforce to support the workforce and to explore finding a future for manufacturing on the site.
During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Jones said: “What the support is aimed at doing is to help those who work there at the moment, and to see what beneficial uses for employment the site could be put to in the future.
“We have held discussions with Schaeffler and an offer of a two-tier package to support the company has been accepted.”
The Welsh Government plans to hold further talks with the firm in early December to look into the possibilities for the future. And a support package will be on offer to the workforce if they choose to look elsewhere for work or if they are hit by redundancies.
Mr Waters said: “The management of Schaeffler has made it clear to me that the workforce in Llanelli is excellent and that they have made the decision to close as a result of other factors.
“With such a long history in Llanelli, the company owes its workers more than simply abandoning the plant, so I’m pleased the company has agreed to work with the Welsh Government to provide a future for manufacturing at the site and security for the workers affected by this announcement. Schaeffler’s management must now engage constructively in the consultation process as we all work together to secure future employment at the site.”
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said: “We are all extremely concerned about the planned closure of the Schaeffler plant in Llanelli and the 200-plus local jobs that could go with it.
“After meeting Unite rep Gareth Jones on Friday morning, I had a conference call with Schaeffler’s UK managing director Greig Littlefair and Richard Harrington MP, a business minister in the UK Government.
“We again made the case to keep the plant open and asked the managing director if there is anything the UK Government can do to make them reverse their decision.
“We also raised concerns about jobs in the supply chain.
“Whilst it does seem that Schaeffler have made up their minds, we will be exploring every avenue to see if anything can be done to keep the factory open and help the workers at the plant.”
Councillor Deryk Cundy added: “We are looking for a way forward during the consultation period. We have to prepare for a number of different scenarios and support from the First Minister and Lee Waters AM in the National Assembly is most welcome.”