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Over 200 jobs at risk at Schaeffler factory

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Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM have urged Ministers in the UK and Welsh Governments to take action to persuade Shaeffler to retain its plant in Llanelli and the 220 jobs it provides.

This follows the announcement by Schaeffler Automotive that they have opened a consultation with employees on plans to close their Llanelli plant over the next two years.

Llanelli Assembly Member Lee Waters has submitted a question in the National Assembly for Wales and opened a dialogue with First Minister Carwyn Jones and Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy in the Welsh Government to determine what can be done to protect jobs in Llanelli.

Nia Griffith, MP for Llanelli, has written to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the UK Government, urging him to meet with Schaeffler as soon as possible and do everything he can to persuade them to keep the Llanelli plant open.

Nia Griffith MP said: “I am extremely concerned to hear that Schaeffler are planning to close their plant in Llanelli, which has been a well-established part of our community for over 60 years.

“This would mean the loss of over 200 jobs in and around Llanelli, many of which are highly-skilled, and would be a big loss for our community and local manufacturing. Lee Waters and I will do everything we can to persuade Schaeffler to keep the local plant open, and I have already written to the UK Government urging them to do the same.

“Schaeffler exports the vast majority of its UK made products to continental Europe and has cited ‘uncertainty surrounding Brexit’ as one of the factors in its decision to close the Llanelli plant. This is a damning indictment of the UK Government’s mishandling of the Brexit negotiations, as after two and a half years they still do not have a plan that gives manufacturing companies the certainty they need.”

Lee Waters AM said: “The announcement by Schaeffler is very troubling. These are high quality skilled jobs and their loss is a real blow to Llanelli. I’ve been in touch with the company and the Welsh Government to see what can be done to try and save the factory.

“It is worrying that the company mentioned “uncertainty surrounding Brexit” as one factor behind the decision to leave Wales. We’ve been warning for over two years that our future access to the single market needs to be secured, but the failure of the UK Government to agree a deal has created huge uncertainty for businesses which has clearly been a big factor in 220 jobs in Llanelli being under threat”.

“Nia and I will work together to ensure that the UK and Welsh Government act in partnership to find a solution that works for the employees at Schaeffler and secures jobs for the long term.

“We all need to pull together to ensure we can secure a future for the plant and the jobs it provides, and bring about the best possible outcome in the ongoing consultation process.”

Llanelli’s MP and AM will be using all their resources to find a way forward and, in addition to lobbying the UK and Welsh Governments, will be opening discussions with the management at Schaeffler, employees and trade unions. Schaeffler are consulting with employees on their plans over the next 45 days, and both Lee Waters and Nia Griffith are offering their support to employees during this difficult period.

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Cold temperatures likely to lead to icy conditions

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A YELLOW weather warning is in place over Wales from 10pm tonight (Jan 16) and 11am tomorrow morning (Jan 17).

As temperatures drop, there is a strong chance of ice patches causing dangerous conditions for motorists.

Icy patches developing with wintry showers also affecting some areas.

What to expect

  • Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces
  • Probably some ice on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths
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Police target burglary suspects in dawn raids

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SIXTEEN addresses have been raided by police in an operation responding to a spate of high-value burglaries in the south Wales area.

Officers targeted locations in Fforest-Fach, Clase, Morrison, Brynhyfryd and Bonymaen following a year of thefts in the city and Neath Port Talbot.

Operation Timmia also saw locations in Swansea citry centre targeted by South Wales Police.

Six people have been arrested and remain in custody, The Llanelli Herald has been told.

The large scale operation used the police helicopter, forensics teams, financial investigators and cash-detecting dogs.

Police seized three caravans, a cannabis cultivation, large amounts of cash and jewellery, and a number of other items believed to be linked to crimes.

Detectives said those arrested are being held on suspicion of several offences, including conspiracy to commit burglary.

They have also issued an appeal to trace a further four suspects: Daniel Casey, 27; Terrence Casey, 19; Michael Casey, 18; and Patrick Joyce, 20.

All four men have links with the travelling community and are known to travel throughout the UK, said police.

“We know the recent spates of burglaries and car thefts across the division has been of real concern in our local communities and I hope the scale of this morning’s enforcement action reassures the public that we do take the matter seriously and that we are fully committed to bringing those responsible to justice,” said Det Insp Dave Peart.

“We now have a number of individuals in custody and enquiries are ongoing to locate a number of outstanding suspects.”

As part of the raids, officers searched an industrial unit in the Fforestfach area of the city, and nine caravans on Millstream Way traveller site.

The force said the investigation follow what has been described as a “high number of burglaries and aggravated burglaries in the past year”.

In some instances, homeowners were confronted by armed gangs who either threatened or inflicted violence.

Supt Cath Larkman added: “During some of the recent burglaries we’ve seen an increasing use of, or willingness to use, violence, so today’s action was absolutely proportionate and necessary to protect the public from further criminality and potential harm.”

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Band leader sexually assaulted 14-year-old cadet

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THE LEADER of an Army cadet band turned a kitchen into a sauna and sexually assaulted a naked teenage boy.

And Philip Pryor, now 65, used a British Legion computer to download child pornography.

Pryor, of Llys y Llyfgell, Burry Port, has been jailed for two and a half years.

Swansea Crown Court heard how Pryor had been the leader of an Army cadet band in Burry Port, which attracted members from across west Wales, as well as being a branch secretary for the British Legion.

Robin Rouch, prosecuting, said the Army had a hut in Burry Port which the band used for rehearsals and some cadets slept there, as did Pryor, before a concert.

A man who was a 14-year-old cadet at the time told police how Pryor would boil pans of water and place towels around doors and windows and turn the kitchen into a sauna.

Boys were encouraged to take off their clothes, as did Pryor.

On at least three occasions he touched the boy indecently, said Mr Rouch.

The victim did not complain until many years later after he had seen a television news item about young footballers being abused and confided in a friend about what had happened to him.

He later told police that at the time Pryor, who had played in a military band while serving in the Army, had told him that because of his standing in the community there was no point in complaining as no-one would believe him.

Mr Rouch said a police investigation began and officers removed a British Legion computer used by Pryor and found he had downloaded a small number of indecent images of schoolboys.

Pryor admitted three offences of indecent assault and one of possessing child pornography.

His barrister, Frank Phillips, said Pryor was now remorseful and ashamed and had lived as a recluse since his arrest.

Judge Geraint Walters told Pryor he had been in a position of trust.

“You targeted him and abused him more than once.

“The fact that he went to the police so many years later demonstrates the long lasting effect of what you did to him. It has never left him.

“It shows the wickedness of an adult taking advantage of a youngster.

“There was some grooming here in that you allowed him to have alcohol and cigarette.

“I accept you have led a blameless life since the offending but it is not possible for me to pass a sentence that could be suspended,” he added.

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