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Schaeffler confirm factory closure with 220 job losses

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SCHAEFFLER have confirmed today that they will close their Llanelli with 220 job losses.

The factory will be closed by the end of 2019 after over 60 years of operation, since 1957.

The company said that Brexit was not the reason for the closure, but was a factor in the discussions.

Unions and the Welsh Government are expected to liaise with the company to help the workers find new jobs.

Schaeffler employs over 1,000 people at five locations across the UK.

Greig Littlefair, managing director of Schaeffler UK, said: “We have held regular and constructive dialogue with employees, Unite, and the relevant Welsh and national political institutions throughout this process.

“Despite the difficult proposals being discussed, we believe a mutually acceptable outcome has been reached. We will continue to offer practical support to employees in the months ahead.”

Local representatives Lee Waters AM, Nia Griffith MP and Cllr Deryk Cundy have reacted with disappointment at the news that Schaeffler have confirmed the closure of their plant in Bynea. Following a consultation with the workforce, unions, and local management launched in November, the company have today announced that they intend to go ahead with plans to wind down the plant with the loss of over 200 high-quality jobs to Llanelli.

The local MP, AM and ward councillor are prepared to assist the workforce in any way they can during this difficult time, and have expressed their continued desire to find a way forward that secures high-quality manufacturing jobs at the site.

Lee Waters, Assembly Member for Llanelli said: “I’m incredibly disappointed at the news that the Schaeffler plant in Llanelli is to close.  The workforce has served the company with distinction over many years and the community has relied on both the good quality jobs and the supply chain impact of having the factory in the town.

“I will continue to work tirelessly with partners including the Welsh Government, the local authority and trade unions to explore the future manufacturing potential of the site as well as to ensure that a comprehensive package of advice and skills training support is made available to those impacted by the news.

“I know how unsettling a time this will be for the staff and families of those affected and I will be meeting the Minister for Economy Ken Skates in the coming days to discuss the taskforce the Welsh Government is setting up and to investigate every avenue in which we can keep good quality jobs in the area.”

Nia Griffith MP said: “The closure of the Schaeffler plant is a huge loss for Llanelli. Schaeffler has been part of our community for decades and supports over 200 local jobs. Since this decision to was announced last November, Lee, Deryk and I have been pushing Schaeffler to reconsider and do everything they can to support the workforce.

“It is vital that we do not lose the manufacturing capability on the Bynea site, so we will continue to work with Schaeffler, Unite the Union and the UK and Welsh Governments to find a way forward.”

Cllr Deryk Cundy said:

“This is obviously very distressing news for the workforce and their families and comes after a difficult period of consultation on the future of the factory.“

“I’ve worked hard with both Nia and Lee to find a way forward for the plant, and hope over the coming weeks we can continue to work together in order to find options that secure employment at the site. It’s now essential that the Welsh Government, UK Government and the County Council work together to provide a future for the workers at Schaeffler.”

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New Mayoral Team for Llanelli

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LLANELLI Town Council has announced the appointment of its new Mayor, Councillor Michael Cranham and its new Deputy Mayor, Councillor Sean Rees for the next Civic Year. 

The Annual Mayor Making ceremony of the Town Council took place virtually on Monday (May 17) and saw Town Councillors taking part via phone, video chat and in person. 

Councillor Cranham’s wife Megan will be his Mayoress and Councillor Rees’s sister Sarah will be his Deputy Mayoress.

Councillor Cranham who represents the Bigyn Ward (which covers the Stebonheath, Penyfan & Llwynwhilwg, Coedcae & Glenalla areas) said: “It is a great honour for me to be voted in as the new Mayor of Llanelli. We pledge to do our utmost and positively promote our Town during my term of office. 

“We are committed to showing recognition to the contribution of all our unsung heroes who during the pandemic have continued to do so much in keeping us all safe and well. 

“My chosen charities for the forthcoming year include CYCA and Tŷ Bryngwyn Hospice. We are very pleased to be able to help these incredible local organisations who are committed everyday to putting the health and well-being of others first.

Councillor Rees who represents the Glanymor Ward (which covers the Seaside & North Dock, New Dock, Morfa & Machynys areas) added: “Llanelli is a place we are very proud to call home and community engagement will be at the heart of everything we do. My thanks to the Mayor for placing his trust in me to act as his Deputy. 

“Our focus will be on supporting the strong network of voluntary and charity groups from across the Town. We look forward to undertaking this great responsibility and continuing to serve the communities we represent to the very best of our ability.”

The roles of the Mayoral Team will include carrying out many civic duties during the year, chairing meetings of the full Council, and being involved with a programme of events designed to raise awareness of all the good work being carried out across Llanelli. 

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New international travel rules for Wales confirmed by First Minister

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International travel will restart for people in Wales from Monday 17 May, the Welsh Government has confirmed today.

As part of changes to Wales’ coronavirus regulations, people living in Wales will be able to travel to some overseas destinations without the need to quarantine on their return.

But additional safeguards will be put in place to help prevent new cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

A traffic lights system, aligned with England and Scotland, will be introduced. Countries will be classified as green, amber and red, depending on their rates of coronavirus.

Mandatory quarantine is in place for all people returning to the UK from countries on the amber and red lists. All people returning from overseas travel must have a PCR test.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

 “Wales, like other parts of the UK, will be restarting international travel. But protecting people’s health continues to be our top priority and we want to do everything we can to prevent coronavirus from being re-imported into Wales.

 “This will not be like travel in the past. Everyone travelling abroad will have to have a test when they come home and for many people, they will need to quarantine when they get home. There are significant fines in place for those who do not follow the legal requirements.

“Some countries are not yet opening up travel to people from the UK. It’s my strong advice that this is the year to stay at home and enjoy all that Wales has to offer.”

Under the international travel rules:

• People arriving from green-list countries are not required to quarantine on their return to Wales, but they must book and pay for a mandatory PCR test on or before day two of their return. All travellers and members of their household will also be reminded about the availability of additional lateral flow tests to continue to monitor their health.

• People arriving from amber-list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home on their return. This is a legal requirement. They are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and on day eight. Unlike in England, Wales does not operate a test-to-release scheme where an additional test can be taken on day five to reduce the period of quarantine. This is because some 30% of people who develop Covid-19 do so after day five.

• People arriving from countries on the red list are required to quarantine for a full 10 days on arrival in the UK at a designated UK port in a government-managed facility – a ‘covid hotel’ – at their own cost, starting from £1,750 per person. All UK entry points for arrivals from red-list countries are in England and Scotland, which means Welsh residents returning from those countries will need to quarantine outside Wales. Travellers are also required to book and pay for mandatory PCR tests on day two and day eight.

All those who do not follow the rules for red-list countries face fixed notice penalties of £10,000.

Welsh residents must also consult the requirements for visitors for any country they plan to travel to. Restrictions may be in place, including proof of vaccination, tests, quarantine and reasons for entry.

Vaccination status certificates will be available for people in Wales who have had two doses of their vaccination and need to urgently travel to a country that requires covid vaccination proof from Monday 24 May.

The First Minister added:

“We call on people to think about whether they need to travel overseas at this time. We should be cautious about going abroad in light of the ongoing risk of coronavirus and the presence of variants of concern in many countries.

“My clear message to everyone is make Wales your destination of choice this year.”

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Main contractor sought for Llanelli’s multi-million-pound Pentre Awel

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A MAIN contractor is being sought to start work on Llanelli’s multi-million-pound Pentre Awel.

Carmarthenshire County Council has gone out to tender to appoint a contractor for zone one of the landmark project which will bring together life science innovation, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities all at one location along the Llanelli coastline.

The scheme is the highest valued tendering opportunity the council has ever published and demonstrates its commitment to the project.

As a major capital project, the contractor will be appointed via the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework.  

Significant emphasis has been given to community benefits including recruitment and training, supporting the supply chain and wider community and educational initiatives.

Zone one of the ambitious scheme – anticipated for full completion by the beginning of 2024 – aims to bring together education, business, research, leisure and health in a single building which will be linked together in a ‘street’ layout and connected by a central atrium comprising a reception, café and other public amenities.

The new leisure centre will have state-of-the-art sports and fitness facilities including a 25-metre eight-lane swimming pool, new top-of-the-range gym, eight-court sports hall and an adventure play area.

The plans also include incubation and acceleration spaces for that will help research businesses develop innovative healthcare technology, and a clinical research and delivery centre focusing on community level clinical trials, and providing multi-disciplinary care closer to home for a wide range of community-facing services.

A proposed well-being skills centre will provide health and care training, with courses ranging from entry level through to postgraduate, placing students in a clinical setting and focusing on areas where there is a skill shortage.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “This is the first step in an extensive procurement exercise for Pentre Awel and I am delighted that after years of planning we are now in a position to deliver this exciting development which will bring huge benefits to the people of Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.

“Both UK and Welsh Government have recently approved the business case which means we can now start to draw down the £40million Swansea Bay City Deal funding to help with its delivery.

“Pentre Awel is the first development of its scope and size in Wales, it will bring a wide range of employment and training opportunities for local people while considerably boosting the local economy.

“This could not have come at a better time as we begin our economic recovery from COVID-19.”

Set within an 83-acre site at Delta Lakes, Pentre Awel is being delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Universities and Colleges including Coleg Sir Gar, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Cardiff University and Swansea University.

The plans for Pentre Awel also include assisted living accommodation to meet a wide range of care needs, a hotel, and elements of both open market and social and affordable housing which will be delivered in zones two, three and four. Landscaped outdoor public spaces for recreation with walking and cycling paths will benefit from spectacular views across the Loughor Estuary and Carmarthen Bay.

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