Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

Mass meeting for redundant Bosch staff in south Wales

Bosch in Miskin
At its peak, the south Wales plant employed a 1,500-strong workforce

Hundreds of workers facing redundancy at the south Wales Bosch factory have held a mass meeting to discuss their future.

The German motor parts manufacturer is recommending to its board closing its Vale of Glamorgan site, transferring work to Hungary in 2011.

The Unite union said it was a "devastating blow" for the 900 workers.

It said workers were angry at the meeting and wanted to know what redundancy packages they would have.

Colin Tucker, a Unite union representative who has worked on the production line at the plant near Miskin for 15 years, said many more people had been at the meeting on Saturday than they had expected.

Colin Tucker of the union Unite
There are a lot of people who lost their jobs last year who are still unemployed
Colin Tucker, Unite union

He said while workers had initially appeared to be apprehensive following the jobs announcement, that had turned to anger by the time they gathered for the meeting.

Mr Tucker admitted all the union could do now was to help negotiate a decent financial redundancy package with the company.

"It's the only thing that's left for people now - there's no opportunities at work," he said.

He said the assembly government would be holding meetings with them to discuss opportunities for retraining.

"But we lost 600 people last year and they have gone into the retraining last year but some of those people have been retrained in jobs where people are already unemployed," he said.

"There are a lot of people who lost their jobs last year who are still unemployed. We're going to put more people out there, maybe 300 people in the summer."

Location map
Bosch is situated in the M4 corridor in south Wales

He added: "People are going to be unemployed for a long time and they're expecting a large financial package to carry them through.

"All anybody wanted to know in the meeting was, 'How much are we going to get?' "

The union's regional officer, David Lewis, said: "Since October last year, Unite has been seeking alternatives to the closure of the site, but the company has not supported our proposals.

"This is a terrible blow to 900 workers and their families. Unite will now vigorously campaign for the best possible deal for the workforce."

Bosch announced in the autumn that it was holding 90 days of consultation on the future of the plant, either to cut 300 posts or to close the site completely.

On Thursday, the management confirmed that it was recommending the closure of the factory, phasing out production and all jobs by the summer of 2011.

It said it was facing the worst economic downturn for decades, saying that this had "left its mark on the Bosch Group".

Support pledged

Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, president of the Bosch starter motors division, described the decision as "one of the toughest" of his career.

"I know first-hand the dedication and commitment of the employees here," he said.

The factory opened in Miskin in 1991 to make alternator products for cars, with the help of £21m in public grants from the Welsh Development Agency, which was subsequently absorbed into the Welsh Assembly Government.

At its peak it employed some 1,500 people.

However, in 2008 it laid off 600 contracted and agency staff.

Ahead of Saturday's mass meeting in Miskin, the assembly government pledged its full support to the workforce.

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