Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Wednesday, 29 June 2005 16:45 UK

Wrigley's second blow to Bridgend

Wrigley products
Wrigley is probably best known for its chewing gum

In a second blow to jobs in Bridgend, a sweet-making factory had announced it is to close with the loss of 173 jobs.

The plant, which makes the extra strong mints, Altoids, used to be owned by Kraft but was bought by Wrigley in May.

The news came on the day Sony announced it would end television manufacturing at its nearby sites in Bridgend and Pencoed with the loss of 650 jobs.

US-based Wrigley said it would shut within nine months and transfer production to America.

Wrigley officials said their discussions with union officials may include possible relocation and retraining of employees.

We will seek to minimise the effect of these changes on our people and the local community in Bridgend
Wrigley's spokesman

The firm said the decision was based on a global review of its assets, which would also include the closure of two Wrigley plants in the US.

A spokesman said: "We recognise the effect that closing facilities has on people and do not propose such actions lightly

"We will seek to minimise the effect of these changes on our people and the local community in Bridgend.

"We will work closely with officials to ensure a smooth closing of the plant and to explore redevelopment or other possible uses for the site."

Peter Fry, area organiser of the union Usdaw, said the Wrigley takeover went through only the night before the announcement, and had arranged a meeting with the new owner to talk about future plans.

He said he had now organised another meeting on Friday morning to try to find ways of avoiding closure.

Bridgend County Borough Council said it would do all it could to help workers with a response team and information about alternative job opportunities, options for retraining and benefits advice.

Council leader, Councillor Cheryl Green, said: "This is unfortunate news for the workers and their families. The council and its partners are committed towards doing all we can to help those affected by the closure of the factory."

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