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 Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 08:28 GMT
Factory announces 190 job losses
Pontypridd graphic
A south Wales factory has announced it is to cut 190 jobs.

The Alexon women's clothing plant in Hawthorn, near Pontypridd, is to close its site in the town, its last manufacturing plant in the UK.

We stuck with it as long as we could, and we are one of the last to make the inevitable decision

Robin Piggott, Alexon

The company, which employs nearly 7,500 staff across its retail and manufacturing business, has made women's clothing at the site in the Hawthorn area of the town since 1952.

Alexon blames the decision on competition from abroad, especially from cheaper producers in Eastern Europe and Morocco.

Group finance director Robin Piggott said they had been reviewing the situation for the last three or four years to see what they could do but had no choice.

He said: "It's a sign of the times. It's been under review over recent years and it's really down to the lack of competition with production that's available overseas.

"We stuck with it as long as we could, and we are one of the last to make the inevitable decision."

Consultation

The firm would not say how much it would save with the closure but it is thought the move would pay for itself within 18 months.

A formal consultation period has started with the GMB union on the job losses.

However, around three dozen staff are to be kept on at a fabric warehousing and storage facility, testing laboratory and a clearance shop.

Fashions under the Alexon and Eastex brands are produced at Pontypridd. The company also produces Kaliko, Dash and Ann Harvey.

It was the company's last remaining UK manufacturing base after the closure of the Luton plant, where the group is based.

Job losses

At the beginning of this month, the firm reported that its Christmas sales were up 2% on a like-for-like basis, down from the bumper 15% recorded the year before.

Alexon's move to pull out of manufacturing in Wales is the latest in a number of factory closures and cutbacks to have hit the Welsh economy during the past year.

Another major clothing manufacturer, Dewhirst, decided to transfer its production to Morocco.

By September last year, around 900 people had lost their jobs after the firm's factories in Swansea, Cardigan and Fishguard ceased production.

Wales' record as a site of heavy industry was hit when the Cardiff firm Allied Steel and Wire shut with the lost of more 700 jobs, although it is hoped the Spanish steelmaker Celsa will step in and buy out the plant and perhaps reemploy many of the workers.

The ASW closure came after steelmaker Corus announced 3,000 job losses in Wales in 2001.

And around 1,000 jobs were lost at a call centre in Pembroke Dock following the collapse of ITV digital.


More from south east Wales
See also:

23 Aug 02 | Wales
29 Apr 02 | Wales
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