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Tata Steel:  Mass layoff rumours denied by company after concerns raised by politicians

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tataRUMOURS of heavy layoffs at Tata Steel plants in south-west Wales have been denied by the company.

Concerns were raised by Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins yesterday afternoon on social media.  The south Wales Assembly member said that she had heard that there would be ‘an announcement of job losses’ on Monday (Jan 18) and that the figure quoted was 750 jobs.

It is thought that the job losses would be at the Port Talbot works, which employs around 4,000 people.  Last week Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock said he understood that the losses were ‘likely to be in the hundreds,’ and were considered necessary ‘in terms of moving the company from loss to profit.’

Tata steel is at present losing around £1m a day from their Welsh operation.

A number of factors have been blamed for the problems facing the Welsh steel industry, including rising energy costs, and, crucially, overproduction of steel in China which has driven down the price on the world market.

The Welsh Government has also been pressed to provide business rates relief to the company, something Economy Minister Edwina Hart said she was ‘looking into’.

A spokesperson for Tata steel denied that there would be an announcement on Monday.  However, they did say that “if and when an announcement is made it will be directly to those it affects – the employees.”

The spokesperson confirmed that the story had had been given increased prominence by politicians.  In a recent debate, Carwyn Jones claimed that the steel industry was dependent upon Britain remaining in the EU, while Nigel Farage said that the opposite was true.

Plaid Cymru has criticised the Welsh Labour Government for failing to protect the steel industry in Wales, while the Welsh government has put a portion of the blame at the UK government’s door for failing to reduce energy prices for the industry.

Ms Hart AM said:  “If we have an announcement from the company, the government will respond appropriately.

“Steel has been in crisis for a long time – this is not just a new thing.

“We and the First Minister in particular have been pressing the UK government on energy costs.

“We are now dealing with energy costs and Europe is dealing with that, but that’s almost too late for firms like Tata.”

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Police appeal after river death in Ystradgynlais

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses following the death of a man in Ystradgynlais.

At around 10am this morning (16 January 2020), a man aged in his 60s was seen entering the River Tawe near Gorsedd Park.

He was rescued from the water near Trebanos Rugby Club, but despite the best efforts of paramedics, was sadly pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin and HM Coroner have been informed.

His death is not being treated as suspicious, or linked to the adverse weather.

Our thanks go out to all who assisted in the response to this tragic incident, in very difficult weather conditions.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police in Ystradgynlais online by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Use reference: DP-20200216-217

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New Body Cameras for Transport for Wales Staff

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Last year alone, saw over 350 reported accounts of physical or verbal abuse against staff on trains in Wales and whilst this is a small number in terms of the overall passenger journeys, TfW are keen to further reduce this number as any incident should not be tolerated.

Antisocial figures in Wales show an improving trend in comparison with the rest of the UK and TfW has previously committed to providing CCTV at every station across the Wales and Borders network and already introduced additional security staff.

This trial is another step forward in reducing this type of behaviour and is being delivered in partnership with the British Transport Police.

The trial will include four different type of cameras, and after a review period, one company will be selected to supplying 300 across the network.

Ken Skates, Welsh Government Transport and North Wales Minister, said:

“Everyone has the right to work or travel on our network without the fear of abuse or threats. The rail staff there to help us are no different to our family and friends. They are working hard to get us from A to B, often in difficult circumstances.

“We must stamp out anti-social behaviour and do everything we can to support staff to do their jobs and let passengers make their journeys in a safe and pleasant environment.”

Daniel Hopkin, a frequent rail passenger on the Neath to Cardiff line added:

“It’s great that Transport for Wales are fitting their staff with cameras. I regularly travel between Neath and Cardiff on the train and I think that any improvements in safety will benefit customers.

“The railway station can be really hectic and the fact that staff will have body cameras should act as a deterrent to some of the occasional bad behaviour. Transport for Wales seem to be considering different ways to improve things for the customer and I find that encouraging as a passenger.”

Marc Clancy, Transport for Wales Conductor said:

“We have to deal with a range of people daily and most of our customers are grateful and polite. We work extremely hard to give our customers the best possible experience when using our services, however at times staff and passengers do experience occasional antisocial behaviour and abuse.

“The introduction of these cameras should act as a deterrent to antisocial behaviour, support assault prosecutions and boost public confidence in safety.

“They will provide our front-line staff with more confidence when dealing with difficult situations and abusive customers.”

BTP Superintendent Andrew Morgan, said:

“The safety of passengers and our rail industry colleagues is our absolute priority and we do everything we can to protect them.

“We fully support the introduction of body worn cameras for Transport for Wales’ frontline staff – we know from experience that body worn video is a fantastic piece of kit that helps us in securing convictions against those who target staff with unnecessary violence or abuse.

“We hope the introduction will deter anti-social behaviour and provide reassurance to rail staff as well as passengers.
Fortunately, these types of incidents are few and far between, however if anyone has any concerns while travelling, they can text us on 61016.”

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Police appeal following fatal road traffic collision

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“Dyfed-Powys Police is appealing for witnesses to a single vehicle road traffic collision which occurred on an unclassified road eastbound between Afon Dulais and Pantygwyn, Capel Dewi around 3pm on Saturday 8th February 2020.

Sadly the 50-year-old female driver passed away at the scene.

The vehicle involved was a 64 plate Grey Nissan NV200 Acenta.

If anyone has any information on this incident please contact Carmarthenshire serious collision investigation unit on the 101 number quoting reference 185 for the 08th February

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