Page last updated at 05:47 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 06:47 UK

302 jobs lost as factory closes

Indesit factory
Indesit management said it had been a "very difficult period"

A washing machine plant is to close with the loss of 302 jobs, Indesit has confirmed.

Workers at Kinmel Park in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, will effectively leave at the end of July when the plant's annual summer shutdown begins.

Unions are angry alternative plans were rejected during consultation. Indesit said other options were unsustainable.

Unite said it would mean the end of washing machine manufacturing in the UK and expect work to switch to Poland.

A spokeswoman for the company, which also makes the Hotpoint brand, confirmed the closure.

The company has blamed increased manufacturing costs as well as falling demand.

'No, no, no'

Alwyn Rowlands, a full time official with Unite union, criticised the consultation process.

"There won't be a single washing machine plant left once Bodelwyddan has gone," he said.

He called the consultation period with Indesit management as a "complete sham" and said the company had failed to consider alternative proposals to maintain production in north Wales.

"It was 'no,no,no' to everything we put to them," he said. "I think this was the way they wanted to handle it all the way along."

Mr Rowlands said he now expected production to be switched to a factory in Poland where workers were trained by staff from Bodelwyddan.

An Indesit spokeswoman said she was not sure "exactly where" production would be moved to, but said its only other washing machine factories were in Italy, Russia and Poland.

Vale of Clwyd MP Chris Ruane, who called it a "sad day for manufacturing in north Wales".

Indesit washing machine
Unite claims Indesit has rejected alternative proposals to closure

Indesit said a number of options were evaluated, including alternative investment, resizing the factory and introducing new products to manufacture at the site.

"Unfortunately, it was agreed by all parties that none of these options were sustainable and as a result of the continuing decline in the market, combined with increasing manufacturing costs, regrettably the decision to close the factory has had to be made," a company statement read.

Indesit said it would be working with the Welsh assembly and Job Centre Plus to provide jobs assistance and skills training for the workers.

Carlos Ramos, UK manufacturing director for Indesit said: "I would like to thank everyone at Kinmel Park for the continued commitment and professionalism that they have shown during this very difficult period.

"It is now our priority to provide support via the Job Shop and help them to find new employment in whatever way we can."

The company said it was committed to the UK market and still employs 2,000 people.

There has been a washing machine factory in the Bodelwyddan area since the early 1980s but it was taken over by Indesit in 2002.

Ann Jones AM
I now feel that the company, although going through a consultation process, had already made their minds up to vacate Bodelwyddan
Ann Jones AM, Vale of Clwyd

It still predominantly makes Hotpoint machines and as recently as 2004 employed 750 workers at Kinmel Park..

Hotpoint used to have a second factory in Llandudno Junction, Conwy, for many years and when that closed, in the late 1990s, some of the workers moved to Bodelwyddan.

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

Denbighshire Council said closure would be a "major blow" to the economy.

A spokeswoman said the council was "very disappointed" the announcement had been made, despite the representations to the parent company in Italy.

"Council staff are now working with the company and government departments to provide advice to the staff who will lose their jobs and also to find alternative employment uses for the site," she said.

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones said the announcement was not a surprise.

"Although I was optimistic at the beginning that we could save the factory, I now feel that the company, although going through a consultation process, had already made their minds up to vacate Bodelwyddan," she said.

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