Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 10:53 UK

Fears for 290 tinplate plant jobs

Trostre works
Difficult trading conditions are being blamed for the cuts

Steelmaker Corus is cutting production at its Trostre tinplate factory in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, with 290 jobs under threat.

Workers and unions have been called to a meeting with management.

Corus said it was beginning a formal consultation process immediately with the 700 staff and unions at Trostre.

In a statement, the company announced it would cut capacity on tinplate production lines by 150,000 tonnes before the end of the year.

The news comes as a further blow to the area.

A week ago boatmaker Avon Inflatables announced it was closing its factory in the town with the loss of 57 posts, and in nearby Gorseinon, a further 185 jobs are being cut by tape maker 3M.

"This may involve a reduction of 290 positions in operational and functional areas," confirmed the company.

"This reduction is part of a programme to strive towards sustainability of its packaging steels operation in south Wales."

Welsh tinplate production has a long and proud record as the cornerstone of the steel industry in south Wales
John Rowse, Unite union

Hugo Loudon, managing director of Corus Packaging Plus (CPP) added: "It is after extensive consideration and with great sadness that we make this announcement today.

"CPP has an excellent record of continuous improvement and it is despite the best efforts of our employees that we must take these measures."

Corus has also confirmed that it intends shutting a factory at Bergen, Norway, with the loss of 260 jobs.

Steel union Community said the Trostre announcement was a "serious blow" to the Welsh industry.

General secretary Michael Leahy said: "We greatly regret that Corus has decided to make this announcement.

"While we recognise the present difficulties in the market for tinplate in Europe we are convinced that there are other practicable options for Corus."

John Rowse from the union Unite added: "Welsh tinplate production has a long and proud record as the cornerstone of the steel industry in south Wales and in the negotiations we will make sure that Corus fulfils all of its responsibilities as the steward of this tradition.

Food and packaging

Fears for the future of the Trostre tinplate plant first surfaced last year, when Corus announced it was trimming the workforce by nearly 100, and reducing manufacturing capacity.

Corus was bought by the Indian company Tata Steel in January 2007, raising further concerns on whether UK operations could compete with Tata sites in Asia.

The Trostre site makes a wide range of tinplate products for the food and packaging industries, including specialised coated tins.

The plant is more than 50 years old, but has received a steady stream of investment, including a new 10m production line in 2003, and a further 700,000 on machinery two years ago.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said he was "very disappointed" by the decision.

"We are assured by the company that there will be no forced redundancies with the opportunity for workers to relocate to the Port Talbot works, nevertheless this decision will have a significant impact on the town of Llanelli," he added.

"I will ensure that we provide whatever support is required to help those affected by this commercial decision.

"Both the First Minister [Rhodri Morgan] and I are seeking an urgent meeting with the company next week."

Llanelli Labour MP Nia Griffith said: "I think everybody in Llanelli either knows somebody or is related to someone working there.

"There's been huge investment there. It's the only one of the Corus plants that can produce every single one of the range of products they do.

"Quite frankly, the workforce there has worked extremely hard to improve the efficiency, so they really are very competitive now.

185 jobs are to go at tape plant
15 Apr 08 |  South West Wales
Job losses as boat factory closes
12 Apr 08 |  South West Wales
Unions' anger over Corus job cuts
18 Jul 07 |  South West Wales
Corus invests 700,000 at Trostre
01 Feb 06 |  South West Wales
Steelworkers 'told to stay home'
01 Mar 07 |  South West Wales
India's Tata wins race for Corus
31 Jan 07 |  Business

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