AM asks Minister for Wrexham Tetra Pak statement

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

PLANS to axe up to 150 jobs at Wrexham’s Tetra Pak factory have been raised at the highest levels of the Welsh government.

Conservative Mark Isherwood has tabled an emergency question to the Deputy First Minister following the company’s shock announcment last Thursday.

Mr Isherwood is concerned that Tetra Pak has launched a consultation process which could result in the ending of production at the factory and about half the workforce being made redundant.

Mr Isherwood has asked Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is also Minister for the Economy and Transport, to make a statement on the job losses in the Chamber when the assembly returns this week.

Mr Isherwood said: “This is a major blow to Wrexham Industrial Estate and every effort must be made to retain production.

“My thoughts are with the employees and their families at this difficult time. This is further devastating news following a string of closures and job losses in the region over recent years.

“I will be calling on the Minister to confirm what direct engagement he has had with Tetra Park and what further intervention and support he proposes.”

Eleanor Burnham, Welsh Liberal Democrat AM for North Wales, described the announcement as a “terrible blow”.

She said: “I know the impact of a possible 150 job losses will be felt hard in our community.

“I have made my views known to the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly and the chief executive of Wrexham Council and hope all help and support is made available to employees who face an uncertain future at this time.”

Brian Apsley, full-time officer for the Unite union, said: “We are still in shock about this. These are good jobs and it’s a good loyal workforce. We didn’t even know we had a problem until 11am on Thursday.

“The staff were told they were doing well and that next year more cartons would be made at the Wrexham site. We haven’t yet met management but we have some draft proposals which we will put to them when we meet on October 11.”

Clwyd South AM Karen Sinclair said: “I am very disappointed at the news that production at the Tetra Pak factory in Wrexham may soon come to an end.

“It is always tragic to see good quality jobs lost from this area, particularly during difficult economic times such as these.

“I have contacted the Deputy First Minister to ask that he do all he can to support the workers at this time and I have spoken with management at Tetra Pak who have assured me they will consult closely with local trade unions and Wrexham Council to ensure advice and support is available to every employee at this time.

“I had hoped Tetra Pak would have shown more loyalty to such an excellent group of workers who have served the company well over the years in Wrexham.

“I understand moving the operation overseas may save the company money, but the skill base they have at the factory will not be easily replicated.

“I will also be seeking more detail from Tetra Pak as to the future plans they now have for the Wrexham site. This news merely goes to show that the local economy here in North East Wales is still very fragile.

“This is exactly the time when we need support and investment from the UK government that is aimed at boosting regional industrial growth not a policy of cut backs and disinvestment which the coalition partners are planning.”

See full story in the Leader

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