104 jobs are under threat after a plastics firm announced plans to close its Anglesey factory.
The REHAU Group has announced it may shut its plant on the Amlwch industrial estate – it’s been the biggest employer in the town since the factory opened in 1975.
The company has blamed a significant fall in demand for PVC, the main product made at the factory, for its decision to propose the closure.
If it goes ahead, PVC production will be moved to other REHAU sites across Europe.
A 90 day consultation period with staff has been launched – among the proposals, staff could be transferred elsewhere in the UK. The company also has a site in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
A REHAU spokesperson said the company had tried to secure the future of the Amlwch plant for some time by bringing in new machinery and changing shift patterns to improve productivity.
But in a statement, the company said: ”The market for PVC Edgeband, the facility’s primary manufacturing focus, has gone into significant decline due to a switch to polypropylene that has contributed to a more than 70% reduction in demand for REHAU products.”
”With no sign of demand recovering, and further investment in Amlwch or utilisation of the site for alternative products impossible due to space restrictions, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of the site.”
The statement added: ”In line with our corporate values, we intend to go above and beyond in the support we offer at this difficult time…we understand that this proposal will have significant impact on our workforce and the local community, but we firmly believe that they are necessary to make the company stronger and to place it in the best position to face future challenges and opportunities.”
Reacting to the news, Plaid Cymru AM for Ynys Môn, Rhun ap Iorwerth, described it as ”another devastating blow” in the wake of Hitachi’s decision last week to put Wylfa Newydd on hold. He called on the Welsh Government for ”urgent action now” to invest in Anglesey’s economy.
Mr ap Iorwerth said: ”My thoughts are with the 104 employees facing job losses and the wider community, where these jobs are so vital – less than a week after the Wylfa Newydd announcement, I can’t express just how much of a blow this is to the area.”
He added he hoped to visit the factory on Thursday for an urgent meeting with REHAU representatives.
The island’s Labour MP, Albert Owen, said the decision was ”another bitter blow for the local economy” with ”another foreign investor considering pulling its investment”.
He added: ”Too many local companies are suspending their business activities and I will be raising this with governments at all levels…my thoughts with the 104 workforce at risk, their families and the local community and I offer my support to them.”
Anglesey Council’s leader Llinos Medi said she was already arranging talks with both REHAU and the Welsh Government as soon as possible. She spoke with the company’s UK chief executive, Martin Hitchin, shortly after the announcement to offer the authority’s support.
Ms Medi said: ‘This is desperately worrying news for the town…as Amlwch’s largest employer, I’m keenly aware that the closure of REHAU would represent a devastating blow for the town.’
‘The loss of 104 jobs would not only affect many families – some of whom have more than one relative working there – but the local community as a whole. I will be working with Twrcelyn ward members and keeping them updated.’
Dylan Williams, the council’s head of economic development, added they were concerned about both the long term prospects and short term impacts for the north of the island.
He said the Wylfa and REHAU announcements demanded a ‘dynamic response from the public sector.’