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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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Rescuers attend to injured construction workers in New Dock Street

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A MULTI AGENCY rescue operation is underway in Llanelli involving all three emergency services after an incident at a construction site.

Workers have been at the New Dock Street site, working for around three years, The Herald understands.

The Herald has been told that a piece of plant malfunctioned causing the emergency, which happened earlier this evening (Mar 19).

Four fire engines and three ambulances are at the scene, our reporter said.

A specialist line rescue team is involved in the recovery operation.

An eye-witness told the press that three workers have been affected.

The source said: “Concrete had just been mixed and had been poured into a skip which was then lifted using a machine. The concrete was being lowered into the hole, it’s probably about 20ft and then the machine toppled over.”

He added: “Two men climbed out of the hole on their own and as a precaution the third man was told to stay down there. The workers were told to leave the site as a precaution.”

At least one person has been seen being taken away in an ambulance.

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Llanelli: Met Bar incident investigated

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AN INCIDENT which resulted in a 51-year old man having to go hospital is being investigated by Dyfed-Powys Police.

The man has been discharged from Glangwili Hospital but police are looking in to how the incident happened and how the man fell down some steps.

The incident happened outside the Met Bar in Llanelli on Saturday night (Mar 16).

A spokeswoman for Dyfed-Powys Police told the Herald: “At approximately 10.55pm on Saturday March 16, officers responded to reports of an injured man outside The Met Bar, Station Road, Llanelli, after he’d fallen down some steps at the location.

“Ambulance was at scene, and the 51 year old man was conveyed to Glangwili Hospital with what was thought to have been a serious head injury. He was then later discharged from hospital, and the head injury was no longer believed to be serious.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 and quoting DPP/3011/16/03/2019/02/C. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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Reports damning for City Deal management

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THE PUBLICATION of two reports on Friday, March 15, has shone a light into corners of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The first report released, prepared on behalf of the UK and Welsh governments, written by Actica Consulting, suggests a combination of concerns over funding and of the “much-publicised concerns on the wellness village (Delta Lakes, Llanelli, the single largest project) could cause a loss of confidence within the region”

In the meantime and, The Herald understands, over the anguished objections of the Regional

Office/Carmarthenshire County Council, the second report – an internal review – was circulated to county councillors in Pembrokeshire this morning.

The second report makes for grim reading.

The report lays bare the amount of distrust between the City Deal partners, particularly between Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils on the one side, and Carmarthenshire County Council on the other.

Each report highlights deficiencies in the management of the Deal, which Carmarthenshire County Council and its controversial CEO Mark James are meant to lead.

Familiar to those who have kept a close watch on the activities of Carmarthenshire County Council are complaints of a lack of transparency and openness in the way the City Deal has been managed to date.

Particular criticism is made of two key aspects of the project: that under Mr James’ leadership the Deal has failed to consider the City Deal as a truly regional opportunity and focussed on building individual, local projects of limited regional value; the second major criticism is the failure of leadership given to the project and an abject lack of clear financial processes and accountability.

In spite of an attempt to spin the ‘success’ of two elements of the deal, Swansea Waterfront and Yr Egin, it is worth noting that Yr Egin was only tacked on to the City Deal when already underway because UWTSD revealed it couldn’t afford to complete the project on its own as it had promised.

Cllr Rob James, the Leader of the Labour Group on Carmarthenshire County Council told The Herald late on Friday afternoon: “I am pleased that this review has highlighted many of the concerns that we have raised on governance.

“Frankly, the report validated our actions to date.

“Trust has broken down between partners and public confidence in one of the projects, in particular, has taken a big hit.

“There are clear lessons that need to be learnt and this report highlights several of them. I now hope that the administration in Carmarthenshire consider the review in full and ensure that radical changes on governance are delivered immediately.”

Cllr Rob Stewart, Chairman of the Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee, said: “This review was carried out alongside the UK and Welsh Government’s independent review of the City Deal programme and sought to assure that it will deliver full economic benefits for the region.

“The findings and recommendations of the internal review will be formally considered by the SBCD Joint Committee at the next meeting.

“Looking to ensure governance is as robust as possible reflects that we’re still in the very early stages of a 15-year programme, but we’re ready to support any recommendations that would benefit the region’s economic prosperity in future by speeding up the City Deal’s delivery.”

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