Monday, December 15, 2008

Economic Meltdown

Almost 20 years ago, I was stuck in a queue in Llanfyllin, with a load of fat lambs in my landrover trailer. The farmers of Montgomeryshire wanted to sell thousands of them on the same day - and the town's little livestock market couldn't handle them all at the same time. So latecomers had to wait until some pens were sold and loaded into lorries before we could unload. Anyway, I was a board member of the DBRW at the time, and decided to use my time considering how the layout of Llanfyllin could be redesigned. Another factor in this equation was that a hugely successful local company, Saltofix, had outgrown its site in the town. Incredibly, the back-of-envelope plan I drew that day appealed to the Chief Executive of my Board, and the chief officers of the Montgomeryshire Council, of which I was the then Chairman. We set up what was known as the North Montgomeryshire Group, which presented this back-of-envelope plan, transformed into something more professional and glossy - and incredibly it eventually came to pass.

Now I mention all this by way of historical background, because the plans involved a new bespoke factory for Saltofix, which is known today as Stadco Powys. Over the weekend I learned that that on Friday the company had informed staff that it plans to make 106 of its 153 workers redundant in the New Year - though not before March. It became public today. In Llanfyllin this is a truly massive blow. It is economic meltdown for the town of Llanfyllin. The workers and everyone else will be in shock as the impact of this news sinks in.

Local councillor, Peter Lewis has asked me to join him tomorrow morning at a private meeting with the company at 9.30. I understand that the WDA will also be at the meeting. It will be an opportunity for us to learn in accurate detail what is happening, and for us to tell the company of our support and desire that as many jobs as possible are retained in Llanfyllin. It is particularly important that a plant remains active so that there's a presence in the town on which to rebuild when the current economic crisis is over.

1 comment:

Stevalia said...

I remember working at Saltofix Llanfyllin back in 1976 I joined and left 1979 I first tried the British army, but to cut a long story short, was told not to try and get into any of HMF. Naturally I was upset about it, as the military was my childhood dream. I had just turned age 16 so I went to work for the Germans instead at Saltofix,I asked Fred the German Forman any fear of a job mate? So he said I could start right away. It was hard work and freezing to begin with early mornings especially in winter times handling cold steel, but we soon got warmed up. I have many fond memories of that place. I was sorry to have to quit as it was like home from home and Janis (bosses Daughter) was also upset at my leaving, but I just wanted to try other things and experience life for myself. Fred told me it would be hard life if I go looking for another job. He was right, on reflection had I stayed where I was I would have been much better off. I went from job to job on low pay back in Thatcher years even tried being self employed. It was not until 1999 I finally got a job I was happy with that paid a respectful wage. When I worked at Saltofix I master many jobs to do with spot welding plus worked with a great team of workmates; it warm atmosphere, even during cold hard winter times.