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'Relief' at Toyota jobs decision

11 March 09 13:27 GMT

Politicians and union officials have expressed "relief" at the decision by car maker Toyota not to impose job cuts at its Flintshire engine plant.

But there has also been calls for government bodies to do more to help safeguard the future of nearly 600 posts at the Deeside site.

The company is to cut working hours and basic pay by 10% for the next year.

Alyn and Deeside MP, Mark Tami, said Toyota had "shown determination in retaining staff".

"Nobody wants to see a cut in pay, but it is a far better alternative to job losses," added the MP.

"These are very uncertain times for all of us, so it is vital that jobs are safeguarded.

"I am in constant talks with the company and will be visiting the plant in the very near future."

His views have been echoed by the Delyn assembly member, Sandy Mewies, who has tabled an urgent question for the assembly government's economic minister, Ieuan Wyn Jones.

"This is a worrying development affecting one of our most important manufacturers," said the AM.

" I have also written to the minister seeking his assistance. Both myself and my colleague Carl Sargeant, the AM for Alyn and Deeside, believe the assembly government should give all the help they can."

Toyota managers have said the cuts being imposed from April 1 this year will effectively see workers' hours cut by two days a month, as well as the 10% cut in pay.

Plans to invest £88m on a new engine production line at Deeside, for the Auris hatchback model, also remain on hold.

Clwyd West MP David Jones, who is shadow minister for Wales, said the UK government urgently needed to address the issues facing Britain's car industry.

"This is yet another sign of how the manufacturing industry is struggling during the recession," he said.

"None of the measures they've announced to support the car industry - such as the automotive assistance programme - have even been implemented.

"The Government must urgently put in place a national loan guarantee scheme. This would get working capital flowing again and help manufacturers survive."

Alwyn Rowlands, the regional office for the Unite union, said the decision by Toyota reflected the wider picture for the industry in Wales.

"I'm sure that it has disappointed people, and I'm sure it affects their confidence and morale," said the union leader.

"It emphasises the major problems we've had in the car industry, the car market in general, which has an affect on car components."

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