Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 09:45 UK

Final day for 302 Indesit workers

Indesit sign at Kinmel Park, Bodelwyddan
Indesit management said staff had a "lot to offer" future employers

More than 300 staff are working their last shifts at a Denbighshire washing machine factory which is closing as production moves abroad.

Indesit at Bodelwyddan has been a major employer since 1954. The Unite union said its closure marked the end of UK washing machine manufacturing.

The company has blamed increased production costs and falling demand.

The loss of the jobs has been described as a "very sad day" for the area by those who campaigned to keep it open.

In a statement, Indesit, which also makes the Hotpoint brand, said a number of options for the site had been considered but all parties agreed they were not viable.

Ann Jones AM
We have to find ways of keeping these skills so they aren't lost from the area
Ann Jones AM

The firm said: "To date Indesit Company has had no offer, nor has it been involved in talks with, any white goods manufacturer about the future of the site."

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones described it as a "very sad" day for the area, adding: "I'm very disappointed that we not been able to save this site.

"They are a very loyal workforce and many of them have worked there for a long time.

"These are highly skilled manufacturing jobs and, somehow, we have to find ways of keeping these skills so they are not lost from the area."

Alwyn Rowlands, of the Unite union, previously described the company's consultation process as a "complete sham".

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

The union expects production to be switched to Poland.

Factories

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

It has made predominantly Hotpoint machines and as recently as 2004 employed 750 workers at the Kinmel Park site.

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.

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

Carlos Ramos, Indesit's UK Manufacturing Director said: "The work force at Kinmel Park has remained very loyal to the company and has a very positive attitude to work.

"This, combined with the wide range of skills and experience they have acquired means they have a lot to offer potential new employers.

"We have been working closely with the Welsh Assembly and Job Centre Plus to try to provide all employees with further skills and knowledge, that I'm confident will help them find new employment."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: "The loss of these important jobs is a major blow to the local economy and we extended our sincerest sympathies to all those affected."



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