Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 12:45 UK

Job losses as boat factory closes

Avon Inflatables (library picture)
Avon Inflatables has been in Llanelli since the 1960s

A company which makes inflatable boats is closing its factory in Llanelli with the loss of 57 jobs.

Avon Inflatables said the posts will be reduced from December, with the plant expected to be close in 2010.

The firm moved to the town in the early 1960s, but parent company Zodiac Marine and Pool has blamed market forces and stiff competition from Asia.

Production will move to France, Spain and Hungary and a new factory will open in Tunisia in north Africa.

It said there would be no enforced redundancies before December this year.

AM for Llanelli, Helen Mary Jones, said she had already arranged a meeting with the company's managing director.


"We are talking about 57 jobs here, which may not sound like a lot but when you add to those the jobs in companies that supply Avon Inflatables and when you also put into the equation the fact we lost so many good quality manufacturing jobs in Llanelli over the past five years or so - this is a real matter of concern," she said.

"The good side is the parent company has said there will not be any compulsory redundancies and it may be that we can put together perhaps a packet of support from the assembly government that might encourage them to stay and expand here.

"Or we might be able to persuade them to sell the company as a going concern," Ms Jones added.

The workforce is around a third of the number employed at the plant in Dafen 10 years ago.

Two other factories, in Rochefort in France and Rosas in Spain will also shut.

The company supplies navies, rescue organisations such as the RNLI, coastguards and businesses.

In a statement the parent company, which took over Avon 10 years ago, said it was "aware of its responsibility" to staff.

"It is keen to work with employee representatives to put in place the most appropriate arrangements with the objective of limiting the number of enforced redundancies, in particular through voluntary internal and external moves and age-based measures," it said.

"The company is also keen to enter into dialogue with key players in the relevant local job markets, in order to contribute to the taking over and reconversion of affected sites and the development of projects likely to favour the creation of new activities."

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