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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Villagers 'resigned' to job cuts
Dara at St Athan
Another 500 jobs have been lost at the Dara base
For the second time in six months, workers in the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (Dara) in south Wales have been told that more jobs are to be lost.

The base, in St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, currently employs around 2,000 people.

But more than half of those jobs are being cut after two major contracts were lost.

Rumours about the uncertainty of the future of the base has been rife in the village for months.

And when news filtered through that further jobs were to be lost, no-one seemed that surprised.

St Athan is a sleepy village, four miles from Cardiff International Airport.

Sue McCarthy
Sue McCarthy wonders where people will find new work

Dara and its neighbouring RAF base are about a quarter of a mile from the centre of the village.

Many of its inhabitants live in a housing estate opposite the base and they are well used to seeing camera crews and reporters walking around after a series of highs and lows about the future of the base.

On Thursday, the Government announced that 500 jobs will go at the Dara after losing a key RAF contract for Tornado fighters.

And the entire base could close if it fails to win other contracts "in the longer term".

It follows an earlier announcement in March, that 550 jobs were cut at the base when the agency lost another lucrative contract.

Sue McCarthy, 33, who works in the launderette in the village said that people were concerned about the news.

Debra Howells
Debra Howells said families were worried about the future

"It is the main source of jobs around here and there isn't a lot of businesses around here where people can get work from," she said.

"It is very worrying."

And families of people working at the base have expressed serious concern about the announcement.

Debra Howells, 34, who works in the St Athan Tearoom said that her brother and her neighbour worked at the base.

"It doesn't affect me directly but I am really worried about the effect it may have on my brother who works there.

"He has got a mortgage and four kids to support and is really concerned about this.

"My sister-in-law is registered blind so he is the main bread winner and he has had a lot of concern about his job.

"He feels so annoyed that once again there are job cuts - ever since he started work there there has been concern about the future.

Travis Ellis and daughter Eva
Travis Ellis said the workers had faced another let down

"I live right opposite the base and my neighbour also works there and he is in the same boat - he's got a mortgage and children to support.

"I think people are just fed-up that it is happening again.

"And it makes you wonder where people are going to get work after this.

"I'd say that about half of the village work at Dara," she added.

And local businesses are worried about the knock-on of the job cuts.

Travis Ellis who manages Bizzy's, a discount store, said that he is concerned about the loss of business as the job cuts are implemented.

"It is a bit of a worry because we have got six children to bring up," he said.

"I think it is going to really quieten things down in the village.

"It just seems to be one let down after another there. It's a real worry," he added.




SEE ALSO:
Fear over air defence job cuts
16 Sep 04  |  Wales
Talks over aviation job cuts
25 Mar 04  |  Wales
Q & A Dara job losses
24 Mar 04  |  Wales


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