Page last updated at 06:57 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Air Products factory, Wrexham, closes for the last time

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Last day for Air Products staff

The last of 200 staff will leave the Air Products factory, near Wrexham, when it closes for the final time.

The firm, which has been at Acrefair for 50 years, is moving production of gas plant equipment to China.

Staff have been made redundant in phases since September, with the last 50 due to leave on Friday morning.

They will watch a commemorative DVD in the social club, which the company is donating to former staff. It includes a song written by a worker.

In a statement, Air Products said the club had "always played an important role for our employees and the wider local community".

It added: "We're committed to exploring ways of transferring the club's ownership to its members and continuing it's operation at the heart of the community."

John Edwards (with beard) and Air Products staff recorded a CD to commemorate the closure of the Acrefair site (picture courtesy of leaderlive.co.uk)
Workers recorded a song as part of a commemorative DVD

After completing their final shifts, workers will gather in the club house to watch the DVD which was compiled by staff.

Celebrating Air Products' 50 years at the site, the disc also features a song written by John Edwards, who worked there for 33 years.

The song is based on singer Dafydd Iwan's Yma O Hyd (Still Here), and is a tribute to how workers tried to overturn the decision to close the factory.

The move was criticised by the Unite union, which had sought a rescue package from the UK government.

Workers were described as "disgusted and disappointed" that the factory could not be saved.

There was also anger because some Air Products staff had travelled to China to train workers, who then took over their jobs.

A petition to save the jobs was launched on the Downing Street website, and one of the worker's wives started a Facebook campaign to keep the factory open.

The Unite union has been asked to comment.

Arwel Gwyn Jones, Wrexham mayor, who taught in Acrefair for several years, said it was a "huge blow" but the council was doing its best to fill the gap, if it was possible.

"There were opportunities galore, especially as Air Products developed, they offered real skills," he said of the factory's history.

"It's the last one of the big industries in the area, the last survivor, so it's a sad picture.

"With jobs going, it will be a very black Friday. Residents feel it's like wiping everything away."



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SEE ALSO
Song remembers factory's 50 years
29 Oct 09 |  North East Wales
Axed plant workers face final day
25 Sep 09 |  North East Wales
Urgent help needed for job crisis
01 Jul 09 |  Wales
Workers' e-petition to save jobs
09 May 09 |  Wales

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