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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 October, 2003, 11:41 GMT
Row over new jobs at kiln
Castle Cement factory
The new kiln is being built at Castle Cement
A controversial 54m kiln - being built at a cement plant in north Wales is at the centre of a row over jobs being awarded to non-local workers.

The construction of the kiln in Castle Cement's Padeswood plant in Flintshire will safeguard more than 200 jobs.

However, Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami is angry that Belgian company, Pirson, which won the contract for the engineering phase of the project, will bring in workers from abroad.

"One of the reasons permission was given for the project was the fact that construction would create new jobs," said Mr Tami.

Managers at the site previously claimed the scheme would safeguard jobs and, during the development stage, up to 500 people would be employed indirectly.

We don't want foreign labour to come in
Graham Rogers Amicus

"According to the unions...there's a lot of work that could be done by local people," added Mr Tami.

"There's a certain distrust within the local community."

However, Castle Cement manager Danny Coulston denied that foreign workers will benefit at the expense of locals.

"Up to now we've used solely UK workers," he said.

"The scaffolders have been local, we've used a number of local contractors.

"There'll be some [workers] from Belgium, some from Germany but predominantly from the UK."

The Welsh assembly approved the plans for the kiln in March 2002- despite opposition from campaigners who feared it could lead to an increase in harmful emissions.

Managers at the plant had warned that the site could close if the facility was rejected.

Environment

The application for the project was first put forward in 1999 and initially approved by Flintshire County Council in February 2000.

It had been dogged by controversy and the plans were called in by the assembly following opposition on environmental grounds.

A public inquiry was then launched, which ended more than a year ago.

Graham Rogers from Amicus, said trade unionists feel they have been let down by the company over the issue of using foreign workers.

"A lot of work went on behind the scenes in supporting the project on the pretext of jobs," he said.

The kiln is designed to run on Cemfuel, a controversial concoction of waste solvents and chemicals - which protesters fear will pollute the environment.

However, Castle Cement managers claim it will help solve environmental problems by making safe and efficient use of new fuels.

The company are working with the Environment Agency to ensure all environmental aspects of the project are approved.

The kiln is expected to be finished by 2005.




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