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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 10:49 GMT
Morgan promises help on Bala jobs
Inside the factory in Bala, Gwynedd
The company says prices in the shops are being forced down
First Minister Rhodri Morgan has pledged support for 66 workers losing jobs at a Gwynedd nightwear factory.

Mr Morgan said the Welsh Assembly Government would treat Aykroyd in Bala exactly the same as the closure of the Burberry plant in Rhondda.

Another 40 staff will remain at the firm's distribution centre in Bala.

The company, which moved to Bala 45 years ago, said it made the decision "with deep regret" but the remainder of the business was financially sound.

Earlier this year, the company cut its production by almost half due to shops demanding reduced prices.

The factory makes children's pyjamas, involving film and cartoon characters.

Mr Morgan told BBC Radio Cymru's Post Cynta that his government would act to help the workers and try to attract new jobs to the area.

'Compete'

The leader of Gwynedd Council, Richard Parry Hughes, has challenged the assembly government to give the same attention to Aykroyd as Burberry, where there has been a high-profile campaign to try to save the factory.

Mr Parry Hughes also said he supported a call to form a taskforce of council officials to attract more investment and jobs to the Bala area.

The mayor of Bala, Eifion Roberts, said the economic impact on the area will be just as bad, if not worse, as the Burberry closure on Rhondda, in terms of the percentage of the population who will be affected.

In a statement, Aykroyd said: "This decision has had to be made to enable the company to carry on supplying retailer requirements and to compete with our competitors, all of whom are now solely importers.

"The company will continue to be the leading character nightwear supplier in the UK with Bala as its sole base for warehousing, reprocessing and distribution as well as handling all financial and shipping aspects of the business."

The firm supplies supermarkets, high street retailers and mail order firms.

The assembly government spokesman said it wanted to meet the company as soon as possible.




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"Most of the employees are very good friends of ours"



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