Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Jobs fears for 300 Indesit staff


BBC Wales business correspondent Nick Servini reports on how finding work is a worry

Union officials have met senior management over fears a washing machine factory, which employs more than 300, is subject to a "critical review".

Alwyn Rowlands, of Unite, claimed Indesit's plant at Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire was one of two which would receive "special emphasis".

It follows a day of 350 actual and potential job losses in Wales.

Meanwhile, official monthly jobless figures showed unemployment in Wales has reached 100,000.

Mr Rowlands said Indesit is reviewing its whole operation.

Unite met with management on Thursday, but no announcement has yet been made regarding Boledwyddan's future, and another meeting is scheduled in March.

Indesit has been asked for comment.

Mr Rowlands said up to 340 workers at the plant, which also makes the Hotpoint brand, had been told nothing about their futures, and he now feared for the factory.

We are determined to do all we can to prevent job losses and support Welsh workers who lose their jobs
First Minister Rhodri Morgan

He added: "One has to be suspicious of the fact that they have opened a new plant in Poland that produces washing machines.

"We can't keep people in a state of suspended animation - you've got to come clean.

"If it's bad news, then let's have it so we can deal with it."

The union's claim came after a bad day for job losses across Wales.

Flintshire building firm PT Construction, based on Deeside Industrial Park, announced it had gone out of business with 130 job losses.

Managers at Makro cash-and-carry store in Swansea announced they were proposing to close the store with the possible loss of 112 jobs.

At Caernarfon, Gwynedd, manufacturer Gleneagle Furniture said it had closed with the loss of 65 jobs.

And the First Milk cheese packing plant at Maelor, Wrexham, warned that another 52 jobs could go because of "reduced volumes" in its business.

Official quarterly figures showed that UK unemployment increased by 146,000 to 1.97 million between October and December.

In Wales more than 5,000 jobs were lost during the quarter, meaning a total of 7% of the population are now unemployed.

Responding to the figures, shadow Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan MP, said: "Gordon Brown and Rhodri Morgan's failure to prepare for the recession means Wales now has the highest unemployment rate of any of the nations of the United Kingdom.

"Across Wales 100,000 people face an uncertain future as more jobs are lost, more companies go bust, and with fewer opportunities to get back to work.

"These figures will not include recent job losses including those at Woolworths and Corus. This means the real position on the ground is significantly worse than today's figures suggest.

"Despite all Labour's summits, all Labour's spin, and all the promises of support, jobs continue to be lost across Wales on a daily basis."

Liberal Democrat economy spokeswoman Jenny Randerson AM, described the latest figures as "a worrying milestone in this increasingly long and bleak period."

Ms Randerson said: "The UK rate is running at 6.3%, so Wales is in a considerably worse position. For a long period, the Welsh unemployment rate was below the UK average, and now we have fallen behind."

Mr Morgan acknowledged that the figures were "disappointing".

The First Minister added: "We are determined to do all we can to prevent job losses and support Welsh workers who lose their jobs.

"Innovative schemes such as ReAct, ProAct and the apprenticeship support programme have got 100m fully allocated. They are there to offer real help to businesses and employees, and we will continue to work closely with the UK government.

"We are doing all that we can to help the people of Wales through these tough times, and to prepare Wales for the upturn when it comes."

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