First wave of re­dun­dan­cies

Fac­tory work­ers be­gin to leave

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Robert Dalling @RobertDall­ing [email protected]­ 01554 700811

SIXTY peo­ple left an au­to­mo­tive and in­dus­trial parts plant this week, in the first wave of re­dun­dan­cies that will even­tu­ally see more than 200 work­ers re­lieved of their du­ties.

Scha­ef­fler, which sup­plies au­to­mo­tive and in­dus­trial parts all over the world, an­nounced in Novem­ber it was to close its Llanelli plant as it un­veiled plans to re­lo­cate pro­duc­tion to other fac­to­ries in the US, China, South Korea and Ger­many.

Work­ers gath­ered at the Loughor Boat­ing Club af­ter they left the Yspitty Road, Bynea, plant for the last time to have a farewell drink with the col­leagues they have worked with for so many years.

Among those gath­ered there was Paul Richards, who was a se­nior man­ager. He has since found a job at Sony in Brid­gend.

Mr Richards, who worked at Scha­ef­fler for five years, said: “It’s been hard, but in credit to ev­ery­body in­volved, the work ethic has been in­cred­i­ble in the cir­cum­stances. It’s tes­ta­ment to the Welsh workforce.

“These peo­ple are friends at the end of the day so it’s a sad mo­ment.

“These peo­ple have a lot of skills and it’s a ques­tion for some of where do you go from here and where you can utilise those skills and get a sim­i­lar salary.”

Stu­art Jones, who had worked there for 34 years, was an­other to lose his job on Fri­day.

He said: “It was a bit of a sur­prise when we found out, but peo­ple were ex­pect­ing some sort of bad news for a while. You could see what was hap­pen­ing over the years and you could see some­thing was com­ing.

“At the be­gin­ning in Novem­ber it was al­right, but over the past few months it’s been a case of wait­ing. You could liken it to death row, as you know it’s com­ing. I haven’t found any­thing else, but I’m 56 and at my age there is no rush. You come to a cer­tain point in life where it suits you.

“We’ve worked to­gether so long, and you spend more time with some of these peo­ple than you do your own fam­ily. We’ll all miss each other.”

Other Scha­ef­fler em­ploy­ees, who are cur­rently still work­ing at the plant, gave an idea of the mood within the work­place. They asked to re­main anony­mous.

One said: “The morale is not very good, and the workforce is min­i­mal, there’s go­ing to be a real strain on ev­ery­one. It’s a sad day, you spend a lot of time to­gether and share a lot of memories to­gether.”

An­other added: “It’s a sad day, but as far as peo­ple in there to­day are con­cerned, ev­ery­body has shown 100% com­mit­ment. Those leav­ing to­day can hold their heads up high.”

A spokes­woman for Scha­ef­fler (UK) Ltd said: “In Jan­uary 2019 Scha­ef­fler (UK) Ltd con­firmed that man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions would transfer to other ex­ist­ing Scha­ef­fler fa­cil­i­ties and the Llanelli site would close by the end of the year, re­sult­ing in just over 200 job losses.

“To­day, 60 em­ploy­ees were re­leased from the busi­ness in the first wave of re­dun­dan­cies.

“Part of the clo­sure plan was to en­sure that we sup­ported our em­ploy­ees in ac­cess­ing crit­i­cal ser­vices and to pro­vide help to prepare them for the fu­ture

At the be­gin­ning in Novem­ber it was al­right, but over the past few months it’s been a case of wait­ing. You could liken it to death row, as you know it’s com­ing Scha­ef­fler worker Stu­art Jones

who has been made re­dun­dant

out­side Scha­ef­fler.”

The state­ment read that the firm pro­vided, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with mem­bers of the task­force set up by the Welsh Gov­ern­ment, a suite of sup­port fo­cused on en­abling em­ploy­ees to tran­si­tion out of Scha­ef­fler in to jobs with other em­ploy­ers, self em­ploy­ment or re­tire­ment.

The state­ment added: “The suite of sup­port in­cludes CV writ­ing and in­ter­view skills work­shops to as­sist in job search and suc­cess at in­ter­view, busi­ness start up work­shop, IT skills train­ing, a jobs fair with a range of em­ploy­ers from dif­fer­ent sec­tors, many of whom have al­ready of­fered jobs to some of our em­ploy­ees, we’ve ar­ranged for DWP and Ca­reers Wales to come on site and pro­vide one to one sup­port, and held pre­sen­ta­tions from the pen­sion provider.

“The lo­cal county coun­cil­lor, Derek Cundy, vis­ited our re­cent jobs fair, which was held on site, to see that the task­force set up by Welsh Assem­bly Gov­ern­ment in con­junc­tion with Scha­ef­fler was de­liv­er­ing what we were aim­ing to do in pro­vid­ing the sup­port ser­vice for the em­ploy­ees that un­for­tu­nately were to be made re­dun­dant.”

Scha­ef­fler say Mr Cundy wrote to them after­wards say­ing: “It was grat­i­fy­ing to see that many of the pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures that I was ex­pect­ing, were be­ing in­sti­gated in pre­par­ing the workforce for in­ter­views that they will be tak­ing for their new em­ploy­ment in the ar­eas of fill­ing in their CVs, elec­tronic CV ap­pli­ca­tion and in­ter­view tech­niques as well as col­lege cour­ses be­ing ar­ranged in­clud­ing skills up­grad­ing in the lat­est com­puter sys­tems. I would there­fore like to thank your com­pany for mak­ing the ef­fort to help, with our­selves, in sup­port­ing the workforce and by im­pli­ca­tions their fam­i­lies.

“I would also like to thank the em­ploy­ers who turned out to of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties in the form of jobs, but also the col­leges aca­dem­i­cally and the state in the form of the DWP and ca­reers of­fice, in­deed all very laud­able.

“I and my col­leagues both at county and at the Welsh and West­min­ster gov­ern­ment are hugely sup­port­ive of these work­ers and will be mon­i­tor­ing their progress in the fu­ture.”

Staff walk away from the Scha­ef­fler UK fac­tory in Bynea as 60 of the plant’s 200 work­ers left the firm on Fri­day.

Pic­tures: Robert Me­len

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