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Tuesday, 3 December, 2002, 17:09 GMT
Fibreglass factory shuts down
Owens Corning in Wrexham
Workers at the factory were sent home
Fibreglass manufacturer Owens Corning is to shut its Wrexham factory with the expected loss of all 230 workers.

The employees were sent home on full pay Tuesday afternoon as bosses continued to talk to the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU).

Owens Corning sign
The site is expected to close by May 2003

The news was broken to staff in a mass meeting at the Bryn Lane Industrial Estate facility and followed a global review carried out to boost performance and profits.

Managers had blamed the strength of the pound and were shifting production elsewhere in Europe.

Bosses said the plant, which makes materials for the glass reinforcements market, had made operating losses for the past five years.

Manufacture of those products will be shifted to company sites around the world.

Company spokesman Ian Hunt
Ian Hunt: The shutdown is not a surprise

Factory spokesman Ian Hunt said the shutdown was not unexpected but it had hit staff hard in the run up to Christmas.

"The workers at the plant have been told that we will be stopping production and that was following a review which was carried out in the United States into the competitiveness of of the Wrexham plant.

"The Wrexham plant's costs are very high compared to our competition - 80% of what Wrexham makes goes into Europe.

"We have have a lot of competition which we just can't compete with.

Devastating news

"The news wasn't unexpected, we have talked about the future and the weaknesses of the operation over the last six months.

"However, obviously it's a shock when people are actually told they've lost their jobs," he said.

The company's other Welsh sites at Pontypool and Queensferry were sold off two years ago.

"I know that the workers there will be devastated, especially at this time of year," Wrexham MP Mr Lucas said in a statement.

The Wrexham company makes fibreglass

"Having spoken to the management, it is clear that the redundancies are not in any way attributable to the excellent workforce."

"I understand that the company have already had discussions with Careers Wales and the job centres on how to find jobs for these highly skilled people.

"I will be meeting with the unions locally and will do all I can to help. I have already spoken to Peter Hain at the Wales Office, and he is highly committed to playing a key role."

The factory is expected to finally close its doors by the end of May 2003.

A US $5bn global corporation, Owens Corning invented fibreglass - a reinforced plastic material composed of glass fibres embedded in a resin matrix.

More from north east Wales
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27 Sep 00 | Business
14 Nov 99 | Science/Nature
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