200 jobs to be filled in auto parts factory as company blames Brexit and coronavirus

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More than 200 jobs are at risk at a Welsh auto parts company which blames the combined economic impact of coronavirus and Brexit.

Kautex Textron is considering closing the Dyfrryn Business Park plant, Ystrad Mynach, and is in talks with unions and employees.

BBC Wales reports that a period of consultation between staff and management has started, with talks expected to last at least until mid-May. The unions say it is “devastating” and they have been told that Brexit played a role in the decision.

The factory opened over 50 years ago and manufactures pipes, water tanks and nozzles.

A company statement said: “We can confirm that we have entered into tentative discussions regarding staff reductions and potentially a site closure.

“Brexit, as well as the continued economic impact of Covid-19, are the main contributors to this decision.”

The GMB union said it was told by the manufacturing company before Easter that it was considering downsizing and the Welsh government said it was “working with the company” to help save jobs.

Mike Payne, the union’s main organizer for Wales and the South West, said it was “devastating” for their members at the factory.

He told BBC Radio Wales: “We have worked with them for 51 years, they are a very good company to work with, they are very good jobs, very well paid and well qualified.

“It is an absolutely devastating and unexpected decision that no one expected.”

He said they had had discussions with the management of Kautex Textron and that a “complete site closure” was being considered due to “declining sales in the world market”.

“It’s a profitable site, but Brexit plays a big role in it,” he added.

“Customers are starting to argue that production should be closer to their bases in continental Europe.”

The GMB said the company is investigating how it could expand into other products, with the potential to then remove just 44 people from the workforce.

The Welsh government said it was “working with the company to explore potential solutions to help keep the plant going.”

“It is clearly a worrying period and we are monitoring the situation closely,” added a spokesperson.

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