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.
Drink driver was twice the limit
A 46-YEAR-OLD man appeared before magistrates at Llanelli Law Court on Thursday (Nov 8) to face a charge of drink driving.
Matthew Francis of Gelli Deg, Llanelli, pleaded guilty to driving his Ford Focus in Llanelli on October 19, whilst over the drink drive limit.
Prosecutor, Sharon Anderson, said: “At 10.20pm police received a call from a member of the public. They were directed to his home address and found the vehicle of the driveway with Francis in the driver seat, and the keys in the ignition.
“He had driven back from a wedding and said he had 3-4 cans. He was arrested and later said he had 6-8 cans of lager and had placed the cans in the garden. Police checked the garden but there was nothing there.
“At half past midnight, Francis completed the intoxiliser and was found to have 70mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath. He was spoken to in an interview and said the van was his and nobody else was insured.”
Magistrates fined Francis £120 and ordered him to pay £30 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs. He was also disqualified from driving for 17 months.
Police operation to get uninsured drivers off the road
THIS week Dyfed-Powys Police along with other forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be taking part in Operation Drive Insured, in a week of enhanced operations to remove uninsured drivers from UK roads and help protect road users.
Uninsured drivers are often involved in a wide range of criminal activities. Every year the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB) Police Helpline records hundreds of incidents where an uninsured driver is found without a valid driving licence or using an untaxed or stolen vehicle. Records also show a number of offenders are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Drivers without insurance are more dangerous than insured drivers and cause a high number of accidents. One contributing factor is because those driving with insurance are encouraged to display safer behaviour and meet road legal requirements to help keep policy costs down.
In 2017 MIB received 11,000 claims from victims of uninsured drivers, with hundreds of people who had suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries.
MIB supports victims of uninsured and hit and run drivers by providing a last resort for claims and compensation. The annual cost to compensate victims of uninsured drivers comes to over £100 million and is funded by the motor insurance premiums of all law-abiding motorists.
Neil Drane, Head of Enforcement at MIB, said: “A driver with no valid insurance has no legal right to be on the road and removing them undoubtedly makes roads safer. The increased activity during Operation Drive Insured should get more of these drivers off our roads.”
Using data from the Motor Insurance Database (MID) – a central record of all UK motor insurance policies – police are using ANPR cameras to easily identify and stop motorists that appear to be uninsured. MIB’s police helpline supports roadside officers by investigating further and liaising with insurers to confirm whether there is valid insurance in place or not.
Any driver found without insurance during Operation Drive Insured is likely to have their vehicle seized, get six points on their licence, a £300 fine and could face court prosecution. Police also plan to carry out checks for a range of additional road traffic offences.
Simon Hills, Inspector for roads policing operations at Thames Valley Police, said: “In my experience, drivers who willingly use vehicles without insurance are often committing secondary offences. These range in seriousness from minor road traffic offences, to driving whilst disqualified and other crimes such as drug dealing and burglary. The effective enforcement of uninsured vehicles allows us to deny criminals the use of the road and prevent further offending. Operation Drive Insured is a perfect opportunity for us to target our resources.”
If a member of the public suspects a person is driving without insurance, they can report it to their local police force or anonymously to CrimeStoppers.
Llanelli’s Schaeffler plant in Bynea seems to have been decided says Labour
THE FATE of Llanelli’s Schaeffler plant in Bynea seems to have been decided, Llanelli’s local Labour representatives concluded after meeting the management of the German manufacturing firm in an early morning meeting in the town on Friday (Nov 9).
Llanelli MP Nia Griffith, Assembly Member Lee Waters and Bynea Councillor Deryk Cundy met with Senior Vice President Dr Thomas Cebulla and Greig Littlefair, Schaeffler’s UK managing director, to discuss this week’s announcement that 220 jobs were under threat at the old INA Bearings plant.
“Very concerningly, in spite of our entreaties, it seems that their minds are made up,” Nia Griffith MP said.
Ms Griffith added: “They stressed to us that the demand for the tappets being made in Llanelli has fallen, and is expected to drop drastically as the product comes to the end of its life and as demand for diesel engines reduces, and the new turbo charged product has not enjoyed the take up that had been hoped for.”
Lee Waters AM said: “The managers told us that Schaeffler is a very big global organisation with 72 factories worldwide and that the Llanelli closure is part of a global consolidation. They said it was no reflection on Llanelli workforce but a reaction to the change in demand for the product made in Bynea”
Deryk Cundy, the Councillor for the Bynea ward of Llanelli where the plant is based, said: “We told them that we will do all we can to work with the Welsh Government and Carmarthenshire Council to offer help if that would make a difference, but we were not encouraged by their response. It seems that their minds are made up.”
The Schaeffler executives stressed that Brexit was a consideration but not the decisive factor in this decision, pointing out that “we are a global business and global businesses want open borders and open trade”. They said Schaeffler had brought forward plans to consolidate their sites because of the uncertainty of the Brexit process.
Llanelli’s MP and AM have both called for the UK Government to prioritise giving business certainty in the Brexit negotiations.
News1 week ago
Humanist minister denied role at remembrance ceremony
News2 weeks ago
Police appeal over ‘suspicious’ Stepney Street man
News2 weeks ago
Man hospitalised following hit and run
News2 weeks ago
Man sentenced to life for murder
News2 weeks ago
Free parking periods in town centres as part of new pilot
News2 weeks ago
Police dealing with ‘suspicous package’ on estate
News2 weeks ago
‘Chronic alcoholic’ put behind bars
News7 days ago
Yellow weather warning issued, flooding possible this week