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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Company steps in to rescue factory
A buyer has been found for the plant
An aluminium plant earmarked for closure in north Wales has been saved along with most of the workers' jobs.

Alcoa announced last November that it was to close its plant at Dolgarrog in the Conwy Valley with the loss of 189 jobs.

The Welsh job losses were announced as the company attempted to streamline its workforce worldwide, cutting a total of 6,500 posts.

Billlboard announcing job losses
The plant was due to close this summer

However, Conwy Council immediately set up a taskforce - employing the support of local AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas and the Conwy MP Elfyn Llwyd - to fight the closure which was planned for this summer.

On Friday unions welcomed the announcement that the deal had been reached with another company called Newco to take over the operation.

One hundred and twenty jobs are now expected to be secured at the plant.

"Its excellent news," said Alwyn Rowlands of the AEEU union which represents workers at the plant.

"The new owners are discussing matters with the employees and reassuring them that there is a future as far as that plant is concerned."

Taskforce spokesman Conwy Councillor Ronnie Hughes said he was delighted a deal had been brokered.

"When the factory closure was announced last November, although the prospects for the factory looked bleak, the taskforce was formed to ensure that no stone was left unturned in the efforts to keep the factory open.

Lord Elis-Thomas
AM Dafydd Elis-Thomas was involved in rescue talks

"We were determined that if there was even a remote chance of keeping it open, we would pursue it," said Cllr Hughes.

As part of the fightback, the taskforce spent 20,000 appointing management consultants KPMG to carry out a business plan which highlighted areas in the aluminium market which were still viable.

With this "glimmer of hope" the taskforce set about finding a buyer, and the deal with Newco is the result.

Councillor Hughes said it was anticipated two thirds of the threatened jobs would be saved under the deal.

Alcoa management blamed the job losses on the downturn in air travel following the terrorist attacks on the US last September and a consequent drop in demand.

The bad news for the aluminium industry in Wales was followed last December by fellow manufacturer Alcan announcing 310 job losses at its plant in Rogerstone in south east Wales

Half of the workforce were to be lost in the job cuts with the redundancies being phased in during 2002.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | Wales
Economic blueprint is debated
12 Dec 01 | Wales
Jobs go at food can factory
19 Nov 01 | Business
Alcoa cuts 6,500 jobs
19 Nov 01 | Wales
Metals firm cuts over 200 jobs
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