Page last updated at 13:01 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 14:01 UK

140 redundancies at metal plant

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David Bloor, managiing director of Anglesey Aluminium, said a new cheap energy deal could still save the plant.

Anglesey Aluminium is offering 140 staff voluntary redundancy because a new power deal that gives them cheap electricity has not been reached.

Staff who want to leave the plant at Holyhead, which currently employs 500, have already submitted their names and those accepted will be told on Friday.

The firm rejected UK government aid of £48m over four years because it was "not enough to break even".

Its managing director said a new cheap energy deal could still save the plant.

However, regardless of any potential power deal, the company said the redundancies will go ahead once notices are issued to volunteers on Friday.

"There is a three month notice period that they will work and they will leave at the end of September, which is when the power contract expires, so it is timed with that," explained the firm's MD, David Bloor.

"You can't withdraw it at that point in time... it's a definitive date for those people, it locks that in."

Talks are still ongoing to try to strike a new deal for cheap power, which has been supplied by the nearby Wylfa nuclear plant for the last 10 years.

David Bloor, mananging director, Anglesey Aluminium
Will we get a power deal that allows us to break even? To be honest, I doubt it.
David Bloor, Anglesey Aluminium

'Realistic'

If no power deal is found in the next couple of weeks the company will then start discussions regarding forced redundancies that will mean another 300 staff losing their jobs.

Mr Bloor said a last minute agreement over electricity supplies would protect the future of at least one smelting production line, and substantially cut the need for compulsory redundancies.

However, he said the company had to remain realistic, and plan for the plant's shutdown in September.

"These are tough times we are in, tough economic times, it's just the harsh commercial reality of where we are," he said.

"Yes, there is a way out of it, but will it happen? Will we get a power deal that allows us to break even? To be honest, I doubt it.

"I wouldn't want to get people's hopes up that it is just around the corner, and we are close to doing this deal.

"That's what it would take - do I think it's going to happen? No - I don't."

The managing director has also defended the firm's decision to reject a £48m package being put forward by the UK and Welsh Assembly governments.

"We've run those numbers, the commercial side of it is, it doesn't work - we'd still lose an awful lot of money in the period ahead, and that is why we can't really accept that deal," he added.

He said the offer had been "extremely generous" and that "everyone had tried hard" to reach some sort of agreement to save posts.

"I guess today is the harsh reality that maybe there is no hope anymore. That's difficult, of course we accept that, there will be anger, there will be all sorts of emotions, and we've got to deal with that the best we can."

Redundancy

Cllr Clive McGregor, the leader of Anglesey council, said possibly only 80 of the 500 people currently employed by Anglesey Aluminium would be employed by the end of September.

He said he would be setting up a working group and chairing a meeting between unions and the company to figure out how to cushion the blow for those who might find themselves out of work.

He also said he wanted workers to be given a clear indication of what is happening at the plant so they can work out what to do next.

A spokesman for the Unite union said: "It is now the intent of the union, along with our political colleagues, to arrange a further meeting with the Anglesey Aluminium Board as soon as possible in order to move the matter forward."



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