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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 14:40 GMT
Hain's promise on factory jobs
Peter Hain
Peter Hain will meet union officials
Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has promised to do all he can to help rescue a mid Wales factory from closure and save 240 jobs.

Union officials trying to keep open the KTH car components plant in Llanidloes met Mr Hain in London on Tuesday.

Mr Hain has promised to hold talks with KTH's main customer, the Ford Motor Company, to try to drum up enough business to keep the plant open.

KTH has said that, unless a solution is found, 60 jobs will go in May when the 90-day notice of the factory closing runs out.

Mr Hain has committed himself to talking to Ford, which provides two-thirds of KTH's order book
Alwyn Rowlands, union official

Alwyn Rowlands, Amalgamated Electrical and Engineering Union regional officer, said he had left the meeting feeling more positive about the plant's future.

"Mr Hain has committed himself to talking to Ford, which provides two-thirds of KTHs order book," he added

"He seemed very supportive to our case and he also committed himself to talking to KTH and the National Assembly as well."

In February, discussions to draw up a rescue plan to save the company collapsed, when a meeting between management and the Welsh Development Agency failed to come up with a workable rescue package.

KTH blamed the latest setback on the loss of a large order to eastern Europe, which would have helped protect the workforce.

KTH is a large employer in Llanidloes

The closure would be a severe blow to the local economy, which is heavily reliant on KTH.

The firm is a major employer in the region employing one in 10 workers.

Conservative AM Glyn Davies has described the impact of the jobs threat to the area as a "national crisis".

KTH say the planned closure is the result of mounting losses which they claim will top 4m by the end of this year.

Powys is not listed as an Objective One area so that source of European grant aid is not a viable option for the region.

Nor is Llanidloes an assisted area - which means that it does not qualify for regional assistance backing.

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