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Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 06:50 GMT 07:50 UK
Task begins to soften jobs blow
Allied Steel and Wire at Tremorfa, Cardiff
Harsh trading conditions at ASW are being blamed
Efforts to minimise the effects of the latest wave of job losses to hit Wales have started, after 1,100 cuts were announced on Wednesday.

Attempts are continuing to find buyers for the ASW plants in Cardiff, following an announcement by receivers KPMG, which confirmed hundreds of steel jobs would go at the end of this month.

KPMG said 800 workers at the Castle Works site would be laid off unless another firm took on the site and some of the workforce.

Aberporth military training range
A total of 147 jobs go at Aberporth

Meanwhile, the communities of Llanbedr and Aberporth in north and mid Wales are coming to terms with the loss of more than 300 Ministry of Defence jobs.

As part of an MoD shake-up of defence facilities, the airfield at Llanbedr, near Harlech, will close, with 164 job losses and a further 147 will be lost as the role of the Aberporth facility changes.

The Welsh Assembly has suggested a role in helping find alternative employment for the axed workers, through a possible package of measures.

In Cardiff, it was confirmed on Wednesday that production at ASW would not recommence after the firm's two-week annual shutdown, which begins on Friday, 26 July.

Receivers appointed to steel manufacturer Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) confirmed that production will not restart at the Castle Works at Tremorfa.

The Welsh Assembly is powerless under EU competition rules to step in and help save ASW.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (ISTC) said receivers were handing out redundancy notices to the staff at Cardiff firm ASW by the end of July.

ASW Chief Executive Graham Mackenzie
ASW Chief Executive Graham Mackenzie
But it was understood that ASW managers did not believe receivers KPMG - appointed two weeks ago - have spent long enough looking for a buyer.

But more than 100 workers at the Castle Nails plant - which is on the same site - will keep their jobs, following interest from other firms.

ASW has blamed harsh trading conditions for its downturn, with the influx of cheap European imports and increasing costs of raw materials.

US steel tariffs

KPMG said the firm's history of trading at a loss meant it could not allow ASW to continue trading.

ISTC general secretary Michael Leahy said it was "devastating news" for workers.

ASW went into receivership on 10 July and the firm's share price had dropped to just 2.5p after riding high at more than 100 times as much at its peak.

Dr Lewis Moonie, Under Secretary of State for Defence
Lewis Moonie said the cuts would save 300m

Meanwhile, news from Westminster confirmed the Ministry of Defence is to close the Llanbedr military range in north Wales.

There will also be a shake-up to at the west Wales testing base in Aberporth, which will convert into a instrumenter training range.

Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy said he understood the MoD jobs would be phased out over two years.

The announcement of jobs losses on military ranges was made by Dr Lewis Moonie, Under Secretary of State for Defence, on Wednesday afternoon.

He said the test and evaluation business had been in need of re-evaluation for years.

The cutbacks are regarded as a shock in light of the defence department's spending review, which has seen the MoD gain a 4% budget boost.

But Mr Moonie said the job cuts in Wales - and 100 in Scotland - will deliver net savings of more than 300m over 25 years.

The changes, he added, would transform the test and evaluation business into "the effective, modern organisation that we require".

BBC Wales' Glen Goodman
"Llanbedr is a community in crisis"

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