Fears for jobs at car parts factory

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The Independent Online

There were fears today for jobs at a car parts factory employing 900 people.

The Bosch plant in Miskin, near Cardiff, which makes alternators for the automotive industry, is struggling with a drop in sales of almost half.

Managers are beginning talks with staff representatives about the business situation and the future of jobs.

Workers were told sales slumped by 45 per cent this year and are expected to drop 65 per cent next year.

A decision on whether to enter into consultations over redundancies will be made during discussions with the Plant Council, the company said.

It added: "This comes after months of difficulty for the plant and in recent years generator production in the Cardiff plant has failed to meet its financial targets."

A spokeswoman said it was too soon to say how many jobs could be threatened.

Figures published this week showed unemployment in Wales climbed 7,000 to 116,000 in the three months to July, ending two consecutive months when Wales bucked the trend as the UK's only nation or region to record falling unemployment.

The Conservatives said the announcement at Bosch highlighted the fragility of Wales's economy.

Tory industry spokesman Alun Cairns said: "Bosch is a major inward investor providing hundreds of skilled jobs in an area which has been badly hit by redundancies over recent months."

He called on the Welsh Assembly Government, which is in contact with the company, to help save jobs by working with Bosch to broaden the plant's production line.

An Assembly Government spokeswoman said: "A meeting with the plant's senior management has already been arranged for early next week to discuss in detail the challenges facing the operation and to explore any potential means by which the Assembly Government could support the company's Welsh operation."

Plaid Cymru AM Chris Franks said: "This latest development is very worrying. I hope that Bosch will discuss with the Welsh government, the workers and trade unions about how best to weather this economic storm.

"Unlike previous recessions in the 1980s and 90s when Wales was defenceless we have a Welsh Assembly and a government that will not sacrifice our own people as we fight the ravages of the world's financial crisis."