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Tata Steel pension plan backed by workers

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TATA steelworkers have overwhelmingly voted to accept a new deal on their pensions.

The deal included £1bn of investment for Port Talbot with no compulsory job losses. Members of three unions voted on the proposal.

Assembly Member Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on Steel and the elected member for the South Wales West region in which the Port Talbot plant is located, said: “There is no doubt the package of proposals with which workers was presented was stark, and seen as a choice between their job or their pension.  With today’s result, the workforce has made its sacrifice for future workers.  Now is the time for the Welsh and UK Governments to step up and demonstrate their commitment to steelworkers and the industry.

“Such a demonstration should include action on energy costs, and investment in a local power plant and a Steel Research and Development Centre.

“The industry also needs a cast-iron guarantee on public procurement whereby local steel is prioritised in infrastructure developments.”

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Adam Price, added: “The Tory UK Government must now urgently amend the “low priority” grading it has given an industry worth £3billion annually to the Welsh economy.  An extreme hard Brexit or World Trade Organisation rules would not be good for the Welsh steel industry, and Plaid Cymru will be insisting the industry is protected from cheap and unfair competition.

“The last-minute concessions negotiated by the unions was no mean feat given that many argued Tata was in no mood to compromise further when some of us called for changes to the plan announced before Christmas.  Those changes came, Tata improved its offer, and the Unions ultimately supported the package.  This undoubtedly assisted workers to reach a decision.

“Having recently met with the local management, it is evident they have a clear vision and plan of action for a sustainable steel sector in Wales and the UK.  Plaid Cymru will support them and the workforce in every way we can as they set about growing this hugely important industry.”

Responding to the results, Dave Hulse, National Officer for GMB, said:  “Now that steelworkers have done their bit, it is time for the government step up and do theirs.

“Thousands of skilled jobs rely on steelmaking and the industry supports the whole UK manufacturing sector.

“Instead of insulting steelworkers by classing their industry as a ‘low priority’, the government set out as strategy for steel that recognises it as a high priority for investment and innovation.”

Tony Brady, National Officer for Unite, said:  “This is not a decision our members have taken lightly.

“It has been a hellish time for them, their families and their communities as uncertainty has swirled around the steel industry over this past year or more.

“During that time steelworkers have made great sacrifices to ensure the UK’s world class steel industry has a future.

“Those sacrifices must be repaid by Tata Steel honouring its commitments on investment and job security.

“Nothing less would be a betrayal and add to the deep mistrust that steelworkers now have for the company.

“The UK government in Westminster must also repay the sacrifices and the commitment shown by steelworkers to their industry by stepping up to support steel and secure its future.

“Recent talk of steel being a low priority for UK government ministers in Brexit negotiations is shameful.

“The UK government must now work in lockstep with the Welsh Government and put steel at the heart of a manufacturing industrial strategy which ensures UK steel is used in all major infrastructure and defence projects.”

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:  “This result provides a mandate from our members to move forward in our discussions with Tata and find a sustainable solution for the British Steel Pension Scheme.

“Steelworkers have taken a tough decision and have shown they are determined to safeguard jobs and secure the long-term future of steelmaking.

“Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but as we have always said, it is vital that we now work together to protect the benefits already accrued and prevent the BSPS from free-falling into the PPF.

“This ballot involved an extremely personal decision for everyone that voted. Whichever way our members cast their votes, we know they will not have taken that decision lightly and everyone’s opinions must be respected.

“We now expect Tata to make good on their promises and deliver the investment plan for the whole of their steel business.

“The UK Government still has an important role to play and we fully expect them to deliver tangible support for steelmaking in the UK.”

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Llanelli and Germany meet again for Oktoberfest 2019

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Fans of beer, music and dancing are in for a treat as Oktoberfest comes to Llanelli this October.

Bringing the German beer festival closer to home, Oktoberfest celebrates its first year in Llanelli this 5th and 6th of October. With a Bavarian Oompah band, German beer, food and an Oktoberfest themed venue, it is sure to be a fantastic event.

Popularly known as the world’s largest beer festival, the traditional Oktoberfest is held annually in Munich, Germany. With more than six million people travelling from all over the world to attend the Munich event, Iceqbe Events are now hosting the festival in Llanelli.

Iceqbe plan to bring the Bavarian atmosphere to the same venue that the town was once twinned with Germany in 1989. Taking place in the Selwyn Samuel Centre, the event is hopeful to attract both Llanelli locals as well as those who live further afield, supporting the Welsh town.

In preparation for the crowd, the biggest German beer festival to hit Llanelli will take place in a 220 people capacity venue, with the two-day festival spread into three separate beer-drinking sessions. 

Recently nominated for the Great British High Street award, this up and coming town is overflowing with welsh culture and international events, including Pride which took place in Llanelli earlier this year.

Iceqbe’s Co-Founder and Operations manager, Stefan Diamond, explains why they chose the town to host their event.

“We are thrilled to be hosting our very first Oktoberfest event in Llanelli,” said Stefan.

“I’ve lived here for seven years now and know first-hand what a great atmosphere this town brings to events like this. 

“With the town’s connection to Germany, it felt like the obvious choice for our event location. We can’t wait for beer-lovers across the UK to come together for a weekend of dancing, food and fantastic Bavarian beer!”

Co-founder of Iceqbe events, Luke James, explains what they’re hoping to achieve from the event.

“As the majority of event companies continue to outsource their staff, customer service levels have dropped whilst food and drink prices have skyrocketed,” he said. 

“We want to change that. We manage everything in-house which allows us to have full control over everything, from the venue to staffing. Our priority is to provide an amazing, safe and great value experience.”

Oktoberfest is sure to have people flocking in, with the opportunity to win tickets for you and five friends via their social media channel. To find out more about Oktoberfest, visit https://www.iceqbe.com/.

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PH Balance help arrest alleged sex offender

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A 51-YEAR-OLD male was arrested in Llanelli last Sunday (Sept 08) in connection to an alleged sexual offence.

Paedophile Hunting group PH Balance South Wales admitted to being involved with trapping the suspect through the use of a decoy. According to PH Balance’s recent Facebook post, the man had arranged a meeting with PH member Dobby who was acting as as a 14-year-old boy online. The man had shown up to the Llanelli town centre to allegedly take the young boy shopping. 

Dyfed-Powys Police arrived swiftly on scene and placed the alleged offender in handcuffs before taking him to the station in the back of a police vehicle.

A spokesman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Llanelli Herald: “On Sunday, September 8, we received allegations from a group in respect of a man in the Swansea area, which related to offences involving children. Officers arrested a 51-year-old man on suspicion of meeting a child following grooming, at Eastgate Llanelli, the same day.”

The spokesman added: “The man has been bailed from police custody with conditions.”

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Becoming Deputy Chief Constable ‘a huge privilege’

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CLAIRE PARMENTER has been announced as the new Dyfed-Powys Police Deputy Chief Constable, describing it as a ‘huge privilege’.

DCC Parmenter, who grew up in Llanelli but now lives in Carmarthen, has worked her way through the ranks since joining the force as a PC 26 years ago.

She said: “Becoming the Deputy Chief Constable within my home force is a huge privilege for me, I hope this will inspire other officers and staff to achieve whatever they want across the service.”

Her policing career began in Ammanford in 1993, having just completed a BA (HONS) degree in Education at Cardiff.

“I was thinking of a career in teaching or policing, and decided to do my degree before making the choice,” DCC Parmenter said. “Policing was always in my heart, so when it came to it, it was an easy decision.”

As well as serving in a variety of uniform roles, DCC Parmenter has undertaken a number of secondments across UK Policing and beyond.

These include a role as national field officer with the National Policing Improvement Agency, becoming operational Chief Inspector in Avon and Somerset Police, and contributing to the national implementation of neighbourhood policing, for which she received a chief constable’s commendation.

She was promoted to Superintendent in 2010 and became lead for the Joint Emergency Services Group in Wales, leading and developing a number of blue light collaboration and resilience programmes, working closely with Fire and Rescue, Welsh Ambulance Service Trust and Welsh Government.

“I’ve always tried to look at the wider landscape of policing and how we work with partners to improve services to our communities,” she said. “These secondments have given me exposure to different ways of working and has broadened my outlook.”

DCC Parmenter returned to uniformed policing in 2012 and took up the role of Superintendent of specialist operations.

She later took over as BCU Commander for Carmarthenshire and Powys, and later took up the post of Chief Superintendent Head of Uniformed Policing for the force.

She is an accredited Strategic Firearms and Gold Public order commander and has won a Stonewall National award for her support of LGBT staff.

A mother of two, DCC Parmenter’s drive and dedication has not only led her to become a chief officer, but has also had a positive influence on her teenage daughters.

DCC Parmenter said: “My youngest daughter is 14 and she’s also keen to join the police. It’s nice to know that she looks at my career positively and can see how policing can make a real difference.

“I’m very proud to be a chief officer in the force I am from. Being able to effect the delivery of services in my home area, and to serve people in the area I live ensuring the best possible service, is a huge privilege.”

Looking ahead, DCC Parmenter’s aims are to keep delivering across Dyfed-Powys Police, and to ensure the force continues to improve and innovate.

She added: “I know Dyfed-Powys communities and staff very well, and I think we have got all the ingredients to be an absolutely outstanding force. I look forward to being a part of the chief officer team to deliver that.

“I’m really grateful to our staff and colleagues across the force, who have supported me throughout my career.”

Chief Constable Mark Collins said: “Claire has shown outstanding commitment to our communities over many years and I am delighted to have her as my Deputy Chief Constable.”

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