Islwyn MP wants answers over at-risk jobs

11:56am Saturday 24th May 2014

A VALLEYS MP is demanding answers over why the owners of a Gwent plant where 150 jobs are at risk are not communicating with politicians or the press.

Chris Evans MP for Islwyn said he was “extremely disappointed” that events company Freeman UK, which has a base in Cwmcarn, had not spoken to him before reports emerged in the media on Thursday that staff had been handed redundancy letters.

The Argus has been unable to speak to anyone at the company who can confirm or deny the reports, following a 45-day consultation period over whether staff would move to the company’s new main UK base in Coventry.

Mr Evans told the Argus: “I am extremely disappointed by Freemans. When they made the announcement about putting workers at risk of redundancy I arranged an urgent meeting, which they cancelled.

“I don’t want to comment on rumour and conjecture but that’s all we’re getting from them. I’m really upset by this.

“This would be a massive body blow to the area,” said the MP. “I am looking for answers – 150 jobs is not an insignificant amount, this is not a minor restructure.

“I will be writing a stern letter about the way this has been conducted.”

It is understood workers who choose redundancy will have until July or December at the plant, in line with the planned closure of the site.

Caerphilly cabinet member for regeneration and ward member for Abercarn, Ken James told the Argus: “I hadn’t heard a thing about this, they are not a well known firm in the locality. Our communications people at the council couldn’t get anywhere with them.

“I’ve heard those who don’t go this year, could go next year, so for 150 people this is like a Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads,” he said. “This would have a marked effect on the local economy. As cabinet member for regeneration I’ll be asking our business unit to find out more.”

Freeman is said to be the largest UK firm providing stage construction, for events from the Ryder Cup to Top Gear Live from its base at Chapel Farm Industrial Estate.

Last month they confirmed the consultation covered “all possibilities” including redeployment and redundancies.

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