Task­force set up to find a fu­ture for Scha­ef­fler plant

Llanelli Star - - Letters - Liz Perkins @lizperkin­spost el­iz­a­[email protected]­di­awales.co.uk 01792 545551

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.”

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