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EDITIONS
Saturday, 7 September, 2002, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
Assembly seeks LG crisis talks
LG Philips assembly worker, Newport, south Wales
LG Philips workers jobs could be in doubt
The Welsh Assembly is seeking urgent talks with management from LG Philips to quell fears that the firm could close its Newport plant.

A leaked document received by the union Amicus suggested LG Philips could be reviewing its UK operations, threatening 1,110 jobs in south east Wales.

LG workers
LG in Newport makes television tubes
It is rumoured the company could be about to cut its cost base by transferring production of television components from its four UK plants to eastern Europe.

Now Newport assembly member William Graham has urged the assembly to act immediately to protect LG jobs.

Even though LG has insisted no decisions have been made, Amicus is already seeking immediate talks with managers about the leaked documents.

Two thousand other jobs are at risk at plants in Blackburn, Tyne and Wear and Durham.

'No decisions yet'

Wales has seen the loss of nearly 2,000 television component jobs at Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi plants within the past three years.

Earlier, an assembly spokesperson underlined the administration's commitment to keep the plant working.

John Major, former British Prime Minister
John Major helped launched LG in Wales
"We share the concerns of the staff at Newport and would like to see assurances about their future given as soon as possible.

"The company have stated the speculation is based on an unauthorised release of internal documents that are under discussion.

"LG Phillips acknowledge that the market climate for TV tubes is difficult, but that no decisions have been taken yet.

"Naturally, we sincerely hope that they recognise that the Newport facility is probably their most modern, with a very experienced and committed workforce."

The spokesperson added: "We will be seeking an early discussion with them to establish what their plans are for the future."

LG, Newport
LG's hi-tech Newport site was a landmark project

On Friday, Newport West MP Paul Flynn said the union had a right to raise the shock news at an early stage.

But LG Philips said it regretted the unauthorised leak of documents, adding that it was discussing many different possibilities and had yet to make a decision.

Rumour mill

Mike Carrigan, national officer for Amicus, was given confidential notes from internal discussions at LG Philips.

Mr Carrigan, who wants to raise the issue at the TUC conference next week, said: "The closure of the factories, particularly the one in Newport, would come as a complete bombshell."

LG Philips said: "There are many different scenarios worldwide which are discussed and evaluated to make sure we are competitive but nothing has been finalised or decided."

A spokeswoman for the group added that workers would be the first to know of any plans, and criticised whoever had leaked the documents.

"It does not help us or the employees to spread rumours around," she said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Paul Flynn, Newport West MP
"The unions have a right to raise the alarm at an early stage"
BBC Wales' Nick Palit, Newport
"If there are developments, staff have been told they will be the first to know"

More news from south east Wales
See also:

25 Oct 00 | Wales
06 Sep 02 | Business
14 May 01 | Wales
17 Oct 00 | Wales
18 Jun 02 | Business
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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