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Monday, 19 November, 2001, 16:17 GMT
Metals firm cuts over 200 jobs
Alcoa's Dolgarrog factory
The Dolgarrog factory will cease production next June
A north Wales aluminium plant has announced it is to close with the loss of over 200 jobs.

Alcoa's Dolgarrog factory
Alcoa is closing its factory in Dolgarrog in the Conwy Valley, with the loss of 189 jobs with another 38 to go at its Swansea plant.

The company - which makes aluminium sheets for the aerospace industry - blames a decline in European markets.

We were aware that the company had difficulties in their market but were not aware of the extent of them

AEEU spokesman Alwyn Rowlands
A spokesman for Alcoa blamed the decision on a 10% overcapacity for aluminium in Europe but said the events of 11 September had exacerbated the situation.

The firm - which intends to relocate to the Midlands - still operates on a manual basis and has been unable to compete with automated sites.

The option of upgrading the plant has been discarded on the basis that it would "require significant investment".

'Out of the blue'

According to a spokesman, production will continue at the plant until June.

Meanwhile, a consultation process with the workforce is due to begin on Tuesday, when options available to workers will be explained.

AEEU regional officer Alwyn Rowlands - who represents 30 of the workers at the plant - said the news has come "out of the blue" and that the aftermath of 11 September had played a part with its effect on the aircraft building industry.

"We were aware that the company had difficulties in their market but were not aware of the extent of them," he said.

"They believe that their products can be produced more efficiently elsewhere."

He said the union would do everything possible to oppose the closure.

"It will be a difficult job - there's no question about that - but we will give it every opportunity that we can," he added.

He said that there were no discussions with the union beforehand, and he was given no indication that closure was on the cards.

Keith Hazelwood, national secretary of the GMB union, said: "This is devastating news. The panic caused by the events of September 11th has struck again.

"The GMB will work with Alcoa to limit compulsory redundancies and ensure that all options are explored including relocation packages."

BBC Wales's Colette Hume
"This will come as a huge blow to the community"
See also:

29 Aug 00 | Business
Mining giant in 1bn Alcoa deal
29 Jun 01 | Wales
Final shift for steel workers
09 Nov 01 | Wales
Airbus suppliers cut 124 jobs
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