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EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 13:54 GMT
Final shift for Dewhirst workers
Dewhirst workers
The factory was Cardigan's biggest employer
Three hundred and twenty five staff made redundant at a factory in Cardigan have clocked off for the last time.

The Dewhirst plant closed its doors on Friday with the firm's one remaining Welsh site, in Fishguard, due to close at the end of this month.


The factory closing will be like a death in the family

Bridget Campbell, machinist

The job centre in Cardigan plans to open especially on Saturday to cope with demand from workers seeking other employment.

Jobs have already been found for about 100 former Dewhirst workers from fairs held after the closure was announced in July.

The Fishguard plant will be the last of Dewhirst's five factories in Wales to shut.

The 168 job losses at the plant will bring the total number of the company's redundancies to nearly 1,400.

The company is in the process of switching production from Wales to Morocco, to take advantage of lower labour costs.

The Cardigan plant supplied ladies jeans to high street chain Marks & Spencer.

Cardigan town centre
The job losses have been a big blow to the Cardigan area

Bridget Campbell has worked as a machinist there for 16 years and said the final shift was a sad occasion for everyone.

She said: "All my friends are there and the factory closing was like a death in the family. It will be like a funeral.

"We have been a community in there.

"You spend so much time in there with your friends, more time than you do with your own family. "

Ms Campbell is one of 24 Dewhirst workers who have found work with Laura Ashley in Newtown.

Selling up

She added: "My partner and I will be putting our house up for sale because we can't afford to keep it with all the travelling we'll be doing."

The unemployment rate in the Cardigan area doubled overnight with the announcement the factory was closing.

Special jobs fairs have been held in the town to find work for staff made redundant.

Pam Sutton, west Wales area manager for Jobcentre Plus, said: "It is encouraging that 100 people have found work but we'll continue to give the best possible help and guidance with the job search."


More from south west Wales
See also:

18 Jul 02 | Wales
23 Aug 02 | Wales
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