IN WORRIES OVER HIGH POUND
this month has been dominated by developments in local industry.
There has been
considerable anxiety over the future of Llanwern steelworks, which has
been badly hit by the high level of the pound. Last year’s merger between
British Steel and Corus, the Dutch Steelmaker, has already led to concern
over jobs at the Llanwern plant. Members of the Amalgamated Engineering
and Electrical Union have joined delegations to Parliament and the Welsh
Assembly. It is estimated that, should the plant close, not only the 3,000
workers directly employed at Llanwern but also a further 9,000 contractors
and others would lose their jobs.
the new Managing Director at Mitel, Caldicot’s biggest employer, also
stated that the exchange rate was causing problems. While pointing out
that, while there were no fears for the future of the Caldicot factory,
planned expansion might be diverted away from the UK into Europe.
several months of speculation came to an end with the sale of Whitbread
Brewery to the Belgian company, Interbrew. Whitbread has sold all its
breweries in order to concentrate on its leisure concerns, primarily the
Merriott Hotel Chain, which includes St Pierre Hotel and golf course.
The Magor brewery is a major employer in the Caldicot area, with 400 workers.
Brian Birchall, Whitbread director for Wales, spoke to workers at the
plant to reassure them that there was no immediate threat to jobs.
OVER SCHOOL BUILDING WORK
A row has broken out in Caldicot political circles over
proposals to temporarily close Green Lane School while essential building
work is carried out. Monmouthshire County Council officials had originally
recommended that pupils should be transferred to other school sites during
the work but parents, supported by the local branch of Plaid Cymru, strongly
objected, forcing a reversal of the decision.
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