Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Saturday, 14 February 2009

Protesters march over job losses

Workers marched through Holyhead to try to keep jobs there
Workers marched through Holyhead to try to keep jobs there

More than 150 people have marched through Holyhead to highlight the growing economic problems facing Anglesey after numerous job losses.

Protesters also urged the Welsh Assembly Government to provide aid to save up to 40 jobs at Eaton Electric in the town which is to close this year.

More than 250 jobs will be lost at the plant with the work moving to Austria.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it was discussing possible grant aid with Eaton Electric.

The factory, which makes miniature electronic circuit breakers, announced last October it would close the plant by December 2009.

Production is being moved to Austria.

Glyn Haynes
The isle of Anglesey is turning into an industrial wasteland
Glyn Haynes, Unite

However, union leaders are hoping that some after-sales jobs could be retained at the Holyhead site.

Island MP Albert Owen, who was at Saturday's protest said it aimed" to draw attention of the Welsh Assembly Government to the importance of a legacy for Eaton here in Holyhead.

"There's an opportunity to keep some jobs, and jobs are very precious at this moment in time," said Mr Owen.

He said an agreement was needed between the company and the Welsh Assembly Government to get grant aid so the unit could be set up for after sales

"It is a viable proposition that if it happens can go for many, many years. So it's not just a short-term fix.

Eaton Electric
The Eaton Electric plant will move work to mainland Europe

"If it happens it can provide 15 years of work in the area, some 30 to 40 jobs, which is absolutely essential and it keeps a foothold of Eaton here on the island which is very important for the future."

Glyn Haynes, from the Unite union, said the protest was also trying to highlight the "greater picture" on the island itself.

"The isle of Anglesey is turning into an industrial wasteland with possible massive job losses at Anglesey Aluminium," he said.

"We want to focus on Anglesey, we want to retain jobs on the island and we want investment in meaningful jobs on the island, and that's what we're rallying and marching for here."

Comparable employment

Mr Haynes also said the outlook for redundant Eaton workers looking for comparable jobs on the island was "very bleak."

"The jobs we have in Eaton are good, reasonably paid jobs for the area.

"There's 19 or 20 people looking for every single job if they can find one that is vacant on Anglesey and they don't have a real hope of finding comparable employment anywhere else on the island."

An assembly government spokesman said a meeting was held at the company's plant this week and talks about a possible bid for grant assistance had been constructive, and the company and the assembly government would work in partnership to investigate the commercial viability of creating a new operation at the factory.

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