Factory closure plans put 245 jobs at risk: union

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

Packaging firm Crown plans to close ‘iconic’ plant in Neath, Wales
Packaging firm Crown plans to close ‘iconic’ plant in Neath, Wales

Related tags: Wales

The proposed closure of a food packaging factory puts nearly 250 jobs at risk and has been described as a “body blow” for Welsh manufacturing.

The Crown plant in Neath, Wales, was considering shutting down due to overcapacity, according to the union Unite, which represents workers there.

Unite Wales secretary Andy Richards said: “This is a further body blow to the Welsh manufacturing sector and to Neath in particular, which has suffered a series of losses of significant employers in recent years.

‘Alternatives to plant closure’

“We call upon the Welsh Government to do everything in its power to intervene and to discuss with the company alternatives to plant closure.” 

The union said it has already been in talks with the Welsh government economy minister in a bid to form an urgent taskforce. 

Richards said: “Unite, will of course, enter into discussions with the company with a view to seeking an alternative to closure.”

MP Christina Rees, who represents Neath constituency, spoke out against the proposed closure of the plant, known locally as the metal box.

‘Gut wrenching feeling’

“The news has left a gut wrenching feeling, this iconic Neath plant is imbedded in the town, and so many local people have links to the place,”​ Rees said.

“I would like to express my sincerest sympathies to the loyal workforce that have given the plant such a superb reputation.”

A spokesman from Rees’s office said the factory employees 245 people and manufactures ring pulls for tin cans. He confirmed that a 45-day consultation started on Thursday (October 15).

“There’s a great reputation that comes with the site. It has been there 80 years and it has been with Crown since 1996,” ​he said.

“The reputation, certainly amongst the town, is absolutely huge. Everybody knows someone who has worked there.”

Crown Europe's regional human resources director for the UK and Ireland, Carol Davis, confirmed that Crown Packaging UK has launched a consultation over the proposed closure.

“We understand this will be a difficult time for all people associated with the Neath Factory and we are actively meeting with all employees at the site to explain the proposal in further detail,” ​Davies said. 

The firm announced plans to cut 116 jobs​ at its Worcester site in 2013, citing a decline in tin can sales. 

View from union

“This is a further body blow to the Welsh manufacturing sector and to Neath in particular, which has suffered a series of losses of significant employers in recent years. 

  • Andy Richards, Wales secretary at the union Unite

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