THE NEWSDESK: Workers deserve to know they won't all lose their jobs because of one decision

THE NEWSDESK: Workers deserve to know they won't all lose their jobs because of one decision

THE NEWSDESK: Workers deserve to know they won't all lose their jobs because of one decision

First published in News
Last updated
South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

IT'S easy to feel punch drunk from all the job losses this area has suffered over the past five years.

We reported recently that in 2011 and 2012, Newport suffered the most net private sector job losses of any city in the UK in percentage terms, with 3,400 positions lost.

Over that period, Newport lost 6.5 per cent of its private sector jobs.

The statistics came in a report from think tank Centre for Cities, analysing the most recent government data about the 64 largest UK cities.

It also outlined how Newport had the eighth highest percentage of the population receiving Jobseekers’ Allowance in November 2013.

In March 2011, Yell closed its Newport call centre at the cost of 40 jobs, followed by defence firm Cassidian shedding 157 jobs in July 2011. Carpetrite closed its Newport store that year and TJ Hughes went into administration, resulting in the closure of its Newport branch.

In 2012, Duffryn-based Panasonic outsourced 164 jobs to Vietnam.

That, of course, doesn't include the thousands of public sector job losses in Gwent over the past five years because of spending cuts.

Now, the threat to up to 650 jobs at the Avana Bakeries site in Rogerstone - and the possible closure of the factory, is a huge body blow to the local economy.

Many are painting Marks & Spencer as the villain here - it withdrew its contract for cakes and desserts and switched production to a firm in Oldham.

And there is a growing social media campaign calling on M&S to re-think its decision.

I hope against hope that it does. But experience has taught me that once hard business decisions have been taken - such as the cutting off of a relationship between the two firms which has lasted 75 years - they are seldom rescinded.

Now, the company running Avana, 2 Sisters, is trying to replace the work for its Rogerstone workforce.

But here's the thing which staggers me: the M&S contract made up 85 per cent of this plant's work.

That is a huge mountain to climb.

Other local businesses in the area which might well feel the force of the local economy contracting if the jobs are lost, along with South Wales East Assembly Member Jocelyn Davies, are quite rightly asking how this situation can have been allowed to develop.

Anyone who runs a business would know how vulnerable such a situation makes any site and any workforce.

And I have to ask myself, how many other businesses are in the same situation? How many are relying upon age-old contracts for the bulk of their businesses? How many more loyal and productive workers might lose their jobs because of it?

There has to be a better way. Common sense tells me that any business should always be seeking alternative sources of work in these dark days. And that workforces need to be pushing for that to happen to secure their futures.

It is simply no good firms complacently believing that the status quo will always prevail.

Workers, their families, and the shops and other businesses in the area which depend on their spending, deserve so much better.

AMAZING how quickly it all comes back. The early slinking out of Wembley Stadium in 1998 when the French put 51 points on a dire Welsh side unable to score a point, French fans joyously waving live cockerels at us as we left.

The early 1990s Irish drubbing of Wales which left their fans so full of the spirit of winning that they lay along a closed St Mary Street in a green herringbone pattern, some singing The Wild Rover, others giggling as we red-wearing fans stepped gingerly over them.

My English colleague looks at me with baleful gaze when I mention this and says, in an exasperated fashion: "It's only one game!"

Only one defeat.

Yes, yes, but it's the MANNER.

The manner brings back some kind of Post FIve Nations Stress Disorder to those of us old enough to have endured Wales' nadir as a rugby nation.

There are grandfathers taking their small grandchildren upon their knee across Wales right now and telling them: "See, young 'un, that's why Grancha has grey hair."

Occasionally, we meet another survivor. We always know - the age, the haunted look in the eye, the twitching when someone mentions the names Ibanez or Lamaison.

We never speak of it.

I have one message to Gatland and his side. I am going to the French match. Don't make an old woman very unhappy.

Comments (9)

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6:38pm Sun 9 Feb 14

KarloMarko says...

And of course Maria, "Workers deserve better"; you and Kevin will be saying that loud et proud to Newsquest as they now shaft your colleagues? On that picket line shouting solidarity forever? All the way with the NUJ?

No, thought not, mortgage to pay. Kids to school.
And of course Maria, "Workers deserve better"; you and Kevin will be saying that loud et proud to Newsquest as they now shaft your colleagues? On that picket line shouting solidarity forever? All the way with the NUJ? No, thought not, mortgage to pay. Kids to school. KarloMarko
  • Score: 3

6:40pm Sun 9 Feb 14

Magor says...

Firms moved to South Wales for the grants and lower wages,but these days you can set up all over the UK and pay low wages.
Firms moved to South Wales for the grants and lower wages,but these days you can set up all over the UK and pay low wages. Magor
  • Score: 8

7:27pm Sun 9 Feb 14

koifisher says...

Very sad not knowing if your going to loose your job or not ,, but I can't work this out ,,2 Sisters Food Group

TypePrivate
IndustryFood manufacturing
Founded1993
Founder(s)Ranjit Singh Boparan
HeadquartersColmore Row, Birmingham, England
Number of locationsUnited Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland
Area servedUnited Kingdom and Europe
Key peopleLord Allen of Kensington Chairman
Ranjit Singh Boparan (CEO)
Baroness Neville-Rolfe
ProductsPoultry, Red meat, Frozen food, Biscuits, Chilled food, Bakery
Revenue£3 billion
Owner(s)Boparan Holdings
Employees24,000 ,,, if you google the owners , then look at what they own , then look at who owns park cakes ,, perhaps I've got it wrong ,, but very confusing ,,
Very sad not knowing if your going to loose your job or not ,, but I can't work this out ,,2 Sisters Food Group TypePrivate IndustryFood manufacturing Founded1993 Founder(s)Ranjit Singh Boparan HeadquartersColmore Row, Birmingham, England Number of locationsUnited Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland Area servedUnited Kingdom and Europe Key peopleLord Allen of Kensington Chairman Ranjit Singh Boparan (CEO) Baroness Neville-Rolfe ProductsPoultry, Red meat, Frozen food, Biscuits, Chilled food, Bakery Revenue£3 billion Owner(s)Boparan Holdings Employees24,000 ,,, if you google the owners , then look at what they own , then look at who owns park cakes ,, perhaps I've got it wrong ,, but very confusing ,, koifisher
  • Score: 1

7:42pm Sun 9 Feb 14

CliveAC says...

The article rambles. Any such article should leave one with a message to run with.
I left Newport when I was 17 going to uni. Some of my friends returned, but not many. I only return for the international rugby.
Somebody should ask - why stop in Newport? I would say go to Cardfif or Swansea.
The article rambles. Any such article should leave one with a message to run with. I left Newport when I was 17 going to uni. Some of my friends returned, but not many. I only return for the international rugby. Somebody should ask - why stop in Newport? I would say go to Cardfif or Swansea. CliveAC
  • Score: -4

8:45pm Sun 9 Feb 14

Port0214 says...

Just another example of the W.A.G's complete failure to secure inward investment, all part of the big picture when it comes to the demise of the city,the slow but sure downward spiral.

On the up side, houses are cheap and it's handy for the M4, as for the rugby the blame can be quite fairly laid at the door of the W.R.U for persisting with this regional comedy when we should be playing in a British pyramid league.

I would pay to see the likes of Gloucester Bath Leicester E.T.C playing welsh clubs on a weekly basis, not the dreadful up the middle arm wrestle involving the same old teams we have ended up with.
Just another example of the W.A.G's complete failure to secure inward investment, all part of the big picture when it comes to the demise of the city,the slow but sure downward spiral. On the up side, houses are cheap and it's handy for the M4, as for the rugby the blame can be quite fairly laid at the door of the W.R.U for persisting with this regional comedy when we should be playing in a British pyramid league. I would pay to see the likes of Gloucester Bath Leicester E.T.C playing welsh clubs on a weekly basis, not the dreadful up the middle arm wrestle involving the same old teams we have ended up with. Port0214
  • Score: 4

11:12pm Sun 9 Feb 14

grumpyandopinionated says...

It is avana's fault for putting it's eggs in one basket. I don't see why pressure should be put on M&S as any company has the right to pick and choose who they award contracts too as I'm sure they have good reasons for choosing another firm. Might just be down to price, but I would imagine that much more thought would have gone into the decision making process.

The whole world is trying to save a few pence here and there as in the long run it keeps the price increase to a minimum for the consumer. If avana are having to cut huge numbers from the workforce then they have failed to ensure that they have sufficent numbers of contracts to make sure they can keep the work flowing.

It is unfortunate for any individual to loose thier job but it's a side effect to the current economy. I don't have much sympathy for public sector lost jobs because the public sector constantly under performs and can never do things cheaply, on budget or on time. So maybe the ones left will wake up and realise that they don't have a job for life regardless of performance and do better.

It will be a long time before the welsh gov can bring companies back to wales because the companies just don't have the money to spend on expanding or relocating, as most businesses that are in wales will be satellite divisions these will always be the first to go. I just hope that the gov will spend the money now to prepare infastructure etc for when there is a time when the money is flowing again. Starting on the new relief M4 would be a start. Why would companies look at us when the gov doesn't do much to help.
It is avana's fault for putting it's eggs in one basket. I don't see why pressure should be put on M&S as any company has the right to pick and choose who they award contracts too as I'm sure they have good reasons for choosing another firm. Might just be down to price, but I would imagine that much more thought would have gone into the decision making process. The whole world is trying to save a few pence here and there as in the long run it keeps the price increase to a minimum for the consumer. If avana are having to cut huge numbers from the workforce then they have failed to ensure that they have sufficent numbers of contracts to make sure they can keep the work flowing. It is unfortunate for any individual to loose thier job but it's a side effect to the current economy. I don't have much sympathy for public sector lost jobs because the public sector constantly under performs and can never do things cheaply, on budget or on time. So maybe the ones left will wake up and realise that they don't have a job for life regardless of performance and do better. It will be a long time before the welsh gov can bring companies back to wales because the companies just don't have the money to spend on expanding or relocating, as most businesses that are in wales will be satellite divisions these will always be the first to go. I just hope that the gov will spend the money now to prepare infastructure etc for when there is a time when the money is flowing again. Starting on the new relief M4 would be a start. Why would companies look at us when the gov doesn't do much to help. grumpyandopinionated
  • Score: 0

9:38am Mon 10 Feb 14

Dafydd y Garreg Wen says...

The biggest business barrier to Wales is the admission charge on the Severn Bridges. The Scottish Government recognised that they had a similar issue and at the first opportunity abolished all tolls, the WAG should do the same.
The biggest business barrier to Wales is the admission charge on the Severn Bridges. The Scottish Government recognised that they had a similar issue and at the first opportunity abolished all tolls, the WAG should do the same. Dafydd y Garreg Wen
  • Score: 2

10:02am Mon 10 Feb 14

GardenVarietyMushroom says...

koifisher wrote:
Very sad not knowing if your going to loose your job or not ,, but I can't work this out ,,2 Sisters Food Group

TypePrivate
IndustryFood manufacturing
Founded1993
Founder(s)Ranjit Singh Boparan
HeadquartersColmore Row, Birmingham, England
Number of locationsUnited Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland
Area servedUnited Kingdom and Europe
Key peopleLord Allen of Kensington Chairman
Ranjit Singh Boparan (CEO)
Baroness Neville-Rolfe
ProductsPoultry, Red meat, Frozen food, Biscuits, Chilled food, Bakery
Revenue£3 billion
Owner(s)Boparan Holdings
Employees24,000 ,,, if you google the owners , then look at what they own , then look at who owns park cakes ,, perhaps I've got it wrong ,, but very confusing ,,
Are you saying that the two companies are owned by the same people?

Curious - and scandalous - if true.
[quote][p][bold]koifisher[/bold] wrote: Very sad not knowing if your going to loose your job or not ,, but I can't work this out ,,2 Sisters Food Group TypePrivate IndustryFood manufacturing Founded1993 Founder(s)Ranjit Singh Boparan HeadquartersColmore Row, Birmingham, England Number of locationsUnited Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland Area servedUnited Kingdom and Europe Key peopleLord Allen of Kensington Chairman Ranjit Singh Boparan (CEO) Baroness Neville-Rolfe ProductsPoultry, Red meat, Frozen food, Biscuits, Chilled food, Bakery Revenue£3 billion Owner(s)Boparan Holdings Employees24,000 ,,, if you google the owners , then look at what they own , then look at who owns park cakes ,, perhaps I've got it wrong ,, but very confusing ,,[/p][/quote]Are you saying that the two companies are owned by the same people? Curious - and scandalous - if true. GardenVarietyMushroom
  • Score: 1

11:03pm Sun 9 Mar 14

scraptheWAG says...

CliveAC wrote:
The article rambles. Any such article should leave one with a message to run with.
I left Newport when I was 17 going to uni. Some of my friends returned, but not many. I only return for the international rugby.
Somebody should ask - why stop in Newport? I would say go to Cardfif or Swansea.
cardiff and swansea are no better the only employer there is the state
[quote][p][bold]CliveAC[/bold] wrote: The article rambles. Any such article should leave one with a message to run with. I left Newport when I was 17 going to uni. Some of my friends returned, but not many. I only return for the international rugby. Somebody should ask - why stop in Newport? I would say go to Cardfif or Swansea.[/p][/quote]cardiff and swansea are no better the only employer there is the state scraptheWAG
  • Score: 0

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