310 jobs go at meat plant

The union that represents workers at a lamb processing plant on Anglesey says that it is disappointed that a deal to save 310 jobs there has 'fallen through.' In a statement, Unite said that the Gaerwen site will now close on Friday.

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Workers at Anglesey meat plant say 'little hope' of finding work

Workers leaving Welsh Country Foods on Anglesey for the final time today say they are 'gutted' and feel that not enough was done to keep the site at Gaerwen open.

One of the workers told ITV News that they had 'little hope' of finding work elsewhere as there are few jobs around.

A manager, who didn't want to be named, said it was a 'sad day for everyone.'

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Economic situation on Anglesey 'dire and bleak'

Anglesey Council's head of Economic Development has told ITV News that the economic situation on the island is 'dire and bleak' and today's news is 'catastrophic.'

Dylan Williams' comments came on the day that Welsh Country Foods closed for the final time with the loss of 310 jobs.

He said that in recent years the island has seen significant job losses totalling around 1,000, with the closure of four large businesses including Anglesey Aluminium.

He said that the island needed to see "major new investment if [they are] to recover those job numbers."

Angelsey's Welsh Country Foods plant to close today

The Gaerwen facility processed more than 600,000 lambs each year Credit: ITV News

Production will cease today at a lamb processing plant on Anglesey with the loss of 310 jobs.

The future of the Welsh Country Foods site at Gaerwen was thrown into doubt in January, after supermarket chain Asda ended its order for lamb.

Welsh Country Foods closure is 'very disappointing news'

The Welsh Government says that they are 'very disappointed' that the Welsh Country Food meat processing will close with the loss of 310 jobs.

In a statement, they said they had offered support to try and secure the sale of the site in Gaerwen on Anglesey.

This is very disappointing news as we had been working with VION UK Ltd to try to achieve the successful sale of its Welsh Country Foods site at Gaerwen to safeguard the jobs there, just as had been achieved at VION's other sites in Wales.

Welsh Government support was instrumental in realising the sale of the VION's red meat processing facility in Merthyr Tydfil, together with its two poultry units in Llangefni and Sandycroft, to the 2 Sisters Food Group Ltd, safeguarding thousands of jobs and securing the potential creation of new jobs.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

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Loss of meat processing plant a 'body blow' to farmers

NFU Cymru says news that the Welsh Country Foods meat processing plant on Anglesey is to close is a "body blow to lamb producers across Wales and to employment on the island of Anglesey and Gwynedd."

It said that it "means the last major slaughter facility in the north of Wales will close and lead to a large drop in overall slaughter capacity in Wales and a loss of levy income."

The loss of one of the biggest slaughterhouses in Wales bodes badly for an industry already suffering from low prices and increased costs.

Competition for lambs is important as is the mix of large medium and small abattoirs in Wales to meet various markets for sheep meat in Wales the UK and Europe.

Loss of Gaerwen abattoir capacity will significantly affect this balance and ability to supply various markets with a quality Welsh product.

– Ed Bailey, NFU Cymru President

'Every possible avenue' looked at to save Anglesey meat plant

The owners of Welsh Country Foods say that they have explored 'every possible avenue' to prevent the loss of 310 jobs at the Anglesey plant.

In a statement the company said that it was an "extremely regrettable action but, unfortunately, we have been unable to identify any viable alternative to closure of the plant."

We have had extensive discussions with a number of parties who expressed interest in buying the plant but regrettably no agreement could be reached with these parties whereby the site can continue operations on an ongoing basis.

We are fully aware of the impact which this decision will have on the local economy and the community in Anglesey but the loss of the plant’s major customer means that there is no longer a viable future for the site.

– Eddie Ennis, site director at Welsh Country Foods

Closure plan announced in January

Vion Food Group, the owners of Welsh Country Foods, announced in January that it was planning to close the processing facility for Welsh lamb.

It blamed the decision of ASDA to 'de-list' Welsh Country Foods as a supplier.

At the time the company said that it would "explore every opportunity to limit any potential job losses."

They announced that they would begin a 90-day consultation with workers as they continued to work to attract new customers to the site.

The plant in Gaerwen previously handled 640,000 lambs every year.

Union 'disappointed' over closure of Welsh Country Foods

This is clearly a sad day for our members at Welsh Country Foods, Gaerwen and a sad day for the community as a whole in Anglesey.

We know that there was business interest in the site and were optimistic that a buyer could be found. We are very disappointed in the manner in which Vion UK has simply let this slip away - along with hundreds of jobs.

– Paddy McNaught, Unite Wales officer
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