The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has visited the Remploy factory in Swansea and addressed workers so as to express his support for their fight to keep it open.
Mr. Black arranged the visit after the UK Government announced plans to close seven of the nine Remploy factories in Wales just over a week ago. He was also the joint author of a motion passed unanimously by Swansea Council last night pledging their support for the factory and agreeing to lobby for its retention.
Commenting on the visit, Mr. Black said: “When I toured the factory this morning I was shocked by the process of managed decline that has taken place there over the last five or six years. Although, the announcement of the proposed closure was a shock, it seems that successive Governments have been preparing for it for some time.
“It was explained to me that essential machinery was not being replaced or updated, that modernisation plans had been put on hold and that vacancies had not been filled for some time. As a result workers were under pressure to fulfil all their work commitments.
“I am also concerned about what will happen to the existing contracts and to new contracts that have been signed recently. These factories are not short of work. They are working to full capacity. Management need to explain whether these existing contracts will be switched to the remaining factories and also if workers will be transferred with them.
“What is clear is that there are many questions still to be answered about the Government’s proposals. We need those answers now if we are to have any chance of saving jobs.”
Councillor Frank Little, secretary of Aberavon & Neath Liberal Democrats added: "While Remploy Furniture's base in Neath Port Talbot is not on the latest list of closures, one has to fear for its future if so many local manufacturing facilities are to be closed."