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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Sony plant closure 'saddens' town
Shoppers in Bridgend town centre
Locals are talking about an impact throughout the town and beyond
The local community in Bridgend spoke of its "sadness" more than shock at the news that the Sony plant was to close.

The electronics company started production at the factory on the outskirts of the town in 1974.

At the peak of its production in the 1990s, along with the sister plant at Pencoed, 4,000 people worked there.

But the first job cuts started five years ago, slowly whittling the workforce down to 900 before Wednesday's announcement.

The Japanese electronics giant has been one of the town's biggest employers for decades and Bridgend council called the new cuts "very sad".

It said it would be doing all it could to help the workers.

Council leader Cheryl Green said: "We regret the current situation as you would expect.

Prince Charles opens the Bridgend plant in 1974; the Queen opens Pencoed in 1993; a worker arrives; production of 'old style' TVs
Sony has been a major employer in Bridgend and Pencoed for 30 years

"We feel particularly for the individuals affected and their families. We shall do all we can to help them secure their futures.

"Sony will remain in this area at Pencoed and we shall again be helping where we are able to ensure it has a positive long-term future."

A statement from Bridgend council said it would be working with Sony and other organisations in helping workers find alternative job opportunities, training options, benefits and support.

"The impact of this is not only being felt within Bridgend as Sony is making similar job loss announcements across Europe," the statement added.

However, the council said: "Although jobs are also being lost at the Pencoed plant, there is some comfort in the knowledge that this still has a positive future in Sony's plans.

"Manufacturing of broadcast cameras continues, technical back-up remains at Pencoed, the Technium facility is developing and the company is diversifying and seeking to use its assets to the maximum."

Sony at Bridgend
It's shocking. It's going to affect everywhere near and around
Shopper Valerie Caddy

Shoppers in Bridgend town centre on Wednesday said it would have an inpact.

Roma Murphy, from Bridgend, said: "It's obviously going to affect a lot of people because Sony's got a big influence in the area."

George Davies, also from Bridgend, added: "It will affect everything, the shopping, everybody. There's so much of it."

Jean Powell, a shopper from Porth in Rhondda, expected the effects to be felt further afield.

"There's a lot from Rhondda who come down there to work. It will affect us in our area. It's very sad," she said.

Valerie Caddy, also from Rhondda, added: "It's shocking. Sony is everywhere, it's going to affect everywhere near and around."

But Robert Evans, from Bridgend, did not think the affect of the cuts would be so bad.

He said: "When it's only 650 jobs, it won't make much difference. The workers will get soaked up by other places."

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