Sharp factory job losses

It's been confirmed 250 jobs are to go at the Sharp factory in Wrexham.

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Consultation begins on Sharp solar panel jobs

Workers at the Sharp site in Llay near Wrexham have begun a consultation as 250 permanent jobs are set to go. The announcement was made yesterday as the company looks to cut back its solar panel operation.

There was more bad news for the town today though, as confirmation that a further two hundred and thirty posts would be going from the First Milk factory on the outskirts of Wrexham. Rob Shelley reports.

Talks set at Sharp in Wrexham

'Bitter pill for staff to swallow so close to Christmas' - Unite. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

The Unite Union will today start consultations with electronics giants Sharp after the firm's announcement it'll stop making solar panels at its factory in Wrexham.

Bosses have blamed "unavoidable market conditions" for their decision.

Two hundred and fifty posts will be shed. It also won't renew around 350 agency workers' contracts.

Microwave ovens will still be made there.

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Sharp job losses 'very worrying' says economy minister

Economy Minister Edwina Hart says the announcement of job losses at Sharp's Wrexham factory is "very worrying" so close to Christmas.

This announcement is obviously very worrying news for the company's employees and their families, especially coming just a week before Christmas.

Severe competition in the UK and European solar markets, combined with wider financial pressures have force the company to take this difficult decision at this time. Sharp has stated its current solar operation in Wrexham is unsustainable but has told us they will be investigating additional products for development at the site.

Welsh Government officials will be exploring all potential options to support the site and in the meantime we and our partners will do all we can to support those who are facing redundancy.

– Edwina Hart AM, Economy Minister

Sharp job losses part of 'structural reforms'

In a statement, Sharp said the planned closure will take place by the end of February and will result in up to 250 redundancies. It said the decision was part of "structural reforms" and maintaining capacity of Wrexham's solar production was "unsustainable."

It is with sincere regret that we have decided to end solar panel production in Wrexham. Our employees are our greatest asset, and we have been fortunate to have a loyal, hardworking and committed workforce since we began solar production here in 2004.

The Wrexham facility will continue to produce microwave ovens, and we will be investigating additional products for development.

Sharp will continue its solar sales business in Europe, expanding our customer base, as we move towards a true energy solutions business that draws on our expertise in related areas, including energy storage and management systems.Market conditions in Europe have become increasingly severe over the past 18 months. A 30% drop in the unit price of European solar panels since the beginning of 2012 has left Wrexham's output uncompetitive here in the UK, and in Europe.

– Hiroshi Sasaoka, Sharp CEO for Europe
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