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2012 review: A year in Welsh business

Our Business Correspondent looks at 12 months that began with the collapse of a Welsh retailer, but end with signs of confidence returning.

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Community Union: Job losses are 'not a surprise'

400 jobs are to go at the steel site in Port Talbot

Alan Coombs, Chair of the Multi Unions committee at Tata Steel Port Talbot says it's clear the steel industry is suffering following the announcement that 400 jobs will be lost at the site.

He said:

"We need the help and we need the support now. The steel industry is suffering particularly bad and we do need the help now not in two or three years time."

Mr Coombs added:

"We understand the business has got to move forward but we've got to be in a place where we can compete and we can do it safely."

"There's going to be a strain on the workforce left behind and that's also a concern."

He said the Unions will be challenging the number of job losses.

Assurances on Tata future despite redundancies says Welsh Secretary

Welsh Secretary David Jones says he too has been in contact with Tata about the job losses. He says the company remains committed to the future of the Welsh steel industry.

It is very disappointing to hear that Tata Steel has had to make the decision to reduce its operational workforce at its Port Talbot site and my immediate concerns are with those employees and their families who may be potentially affected by redundancies.

Tata Steel has assured me that it is undertaking a robust consultation process with its staff and will continue to work very closely with the unions. It has also offered assurance that it is committed to sustaining the long-term future of its Port Talbot site in Wales against a global backdrop in recent years of shrinkage in the steel industry and intense global competition. Jobcentre Plus stands ready to support any employees potentially affected by today's announcement.

– Welsh Secretary David Jones MP

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Welsh Govt: Newport steel job losses 'disappointing'

Welsh Government says it's in discussions with the Newport steelworks' management on how it can assist.

This is disappointing news, especially as the Cogent operation at Newport has made considerable efforts to drive down costs and increase market share as the steel industry in Europe continues to operate in extremely difficult market conditions.

We are currently in discussion with senior management at the plant to determine how we may be able to assist with future investment in potential projects that could further help increase the efficiency and innovation of the plant.

Welsh Government officials will also liaise with the various agencies and organisations which will be able to work with affected employees to provide advice and guidance and identify alternative sources of employment

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

Over 100 jobs to go at Newport steelworks

Orb Electrical Steelworks is owned by Tata Steel. Credit: PA

Over 120 jobs are set to be axed under plans to restructure a Newport steel plant to secure a more "sustainable and competitive" performance.

Cogent Power, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, said 83 direct jobs and 40 contractor posts were at risk at its Orb Electrical Steelworks.

Managing director Stuart Willie said, "The changes we are making are essential for the long-term future of the operations at Orb. Every effort will be made to support employees and, where practicable, achieve job losses through voluntary redundancies.

"European demand for the grain oriented electrical steels we make is still more than 20% down on 2008 levels and we see high levels of imports into Europe. We anticipate it will be several years before demand returns to 2008 levels."

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of the Community union, said, "This is yet another example of how the economic recovery isn't reaching the European steel industry.

"The Government could provide some relief in terms of energy costs in the forthcoming budget by freezing the Carbon Price Floor and providing targeted relief from the Renewables Obligation to those foundation industries, such as steel, that are part of the renewables supply chain."

Residents have their say on new power generator

Tata Steel say their looking to create a new power generator in Port Talbot Credit: PA

Tata steel will hold discussions today over a new power generator that their looking to build on the existing site at Port Talbot.

Over the coming weeks the company will be giving local people the chance have their say on the scheme.

Although a separate issue, today's discussions will also give residents the opportunity to raise their concerns over ongoing pollution issues in the area.

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Tata Steel fined £25,000 after Llanelli worker injured

The Health & Safety Executive described the incident as "completely needless and entirely preventable" Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Tata Steel has been fined for safety failings after a worker suffered serious injuries to his hand at its bsite in Trostre, Llanelli.

The man needed parts of two fingers amputated after his hand became trapped in machinery.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered there was insufficient protection on the machinery the worker was using.

Tata Steel UK Ltd was fined £25,000 and ordered to pay £8,320 in costs after pleading guilty to three separate breaches of Health and Safety legislation.

Steel factory told to clean-up over dust pollution

Residents complained of high levels of dust from the steel plant at Port Talbot. Credit: PA

Tata Steel in Port Talbot has been issued with an enforcement notice in response to dust which has been affecting the local community.

Following numerous complaints Natural Resources Wales launched an investigation to pinpoint the source of the dust problems.

An initial investigation identified a part of the plant where raw materials are kept and moved into storage as the main cause.

Officers found a dust suppressant used by the steelworks was not effective and the company has installed a water spray to reduce the dust. NRW say Tata also plan to install a new dust suppression system before the end of July.

NRW says it has taken enforcement action that requires the company to carry out a further review into the dust problems it caused in June and July. It's also asked Tata to find long term solutions to reduce dust from the site.

Mary Youell, from Natural Resources Wales, said, “Tata Steel is a very important part of this community, and by issuing this enforcement notice we are making sure that it operates to the highest standards to protect local people and the environment.”

Click here to watch Dean Thomas' report on the dust problem.

Tata Steel to re-open site after £3.6million investment

Tata Steel
The Zodiac plant is Tata Steel's world-class coil galvanising line at Llanwern Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The First Minister will re-open Tata Steel's site at Llanwern this afternoon after the company invested £3.6million in its Zodiac plant.

The aim is to offer more flexibility to customers in the automotive sector as they try and expand the business and reach new markets.

Jon Ferriman, Director of the Port Talbot and Llanwern steelworks, said: "The investments we have completed recently, including the Zodiac upgrade, are all intended to improve the sustainability and competitiveness of the South Wales steel industry in extremely challenging times."

Meanwhile GDP figures are out later this morning and are likely to show a small rise, mostly due to improvements in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

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