Page last updated at 06:41 GMT, Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Indesit job losses 'major blow'

Indesit sign outside factory
Indesit took over the company in 2001

A council has expressed "bitter disappointment" at plans to close the Indesit washing machine factory in Denbighhire with the loss of 305 jobs.

Council leader Hugh Evans said the losses presented a major blow to the local economy, which was mainly tourism and agriculture based.

Indesit blamed the "continuing decline" in the market for the plan to close the factory at Kinmel Park in Bodelwyddan.

Unions said the firm had rejected plans which would have safeguarded jobs.

The company, which also makes the Hotpoint brand, blamed a drop in demand for washing machines and increased manufacturing costs.

Mr Evans said: "We are bitterly disappointed to hear the news from Indesit and will be doing all we can to support the employees at this difficult time.

Councillor Hugh Evans
Denbighshire is basically tourism and agricultural based industries and it will be difficult to replace this work
Hugh Evans, Denbighshire council leader

"The company has been one of the major employers in the county for many years and until recently, employed over 1,000 staff at this site.

"The loss of such a skilled workforce is a major blow to the local economy."

The council is contacting both the Welsh Assembly Government and the company directly to discuss the situation.

Mr Evans added: "It's a devastating blow for Denbighshire. Companies like this are very difficult to find and employing this amount of people in Denbighshire has been a big advantage for us.

"Denbighshire is basically tourism and agricultural based industries and it will be difficult to replace this work."

Italian-owned Indesit took over the Hotpoint brand in 2001 and as recently as 2004 employed 750 workers at Kinmel Park.

It has two other bases in the UK, in Somerset and Peterborough, and claims to be the largest "white goods" company in the country.

The Unite union said on Tuesday the announcement was no surprise, but added Indesit had rejected alternative plans the union had put forward to avert closure.

The factory is still known locally by the Hotpoint brand name

Union representative Alwyn Roberts said Bodelwyddan's position had not been helped by the recent opening of an Indesit factory in Poland.

Clwyd West Conservative AM Darren Millar said the region could "ill-afford to lose major employers such as this".

"Job losses on this scale highlight the increasingly fragile state of the Welsh economy and the need for the assembly government to work with the local council and other organisations to provide proper support and training to help people back into work," he said.

"Despite countless economic summits and warm words of support from the assembly government, ministers can do little to stop more jobs being lost and more companies closing down."

Announcing the closure proposals on Tuesday, Carlos Ramos, UK manufacturing director for Indesit said the company regretted having to make the proposal, but a continuing decline in the market meant the situation was "unsustainable".

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