SIXTY-SEVEN jobs at a soft drinks factory in Tredegar are under threat after the firm announced plans to close the site in 2015 and relocate to Milton Keynes.

The Scottish beverage manufacturer AG Barr, which makes Irn-Bru and Rubicon, is to relocate its carton production from a unit at Tafarnaubach Industrial Estate to its new factory in Buckinghamshire at the end of January 2015, subject to employee consultation.

The firm has already complete the first phase of investment at its Milton Keynes factory and, following a comprehensive review of existing operations, is proposing to invest in high speed carton production capability there.

The company said the £4m investment programme, including £2m of capital costs, will efficiently support current demand and provide future capacity and flexibility for this core packaging format, principally associated with the Rubicon and KA juice drink brands.

Up to 27 new jobs will be created in Milton Keynes as a result of this transfer.

A statement issued by A.G Barr said: "The company will do everything possible to support those affected throughout the process. Where possible, employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Milton Keynes." Further information on the financial impact of the proposals will be given at the conclusion of the consultation process.

Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies said he is disappointed by the decision and is calling for an urgent meeting with the company.

He said: "I am bitterly disappointed that such a big employer in Tredegar has decided to close its factory.

"The business has announced its multi-million expansion of its Milton Keynes plant at the detriment of its loyal Blaenau Gwent workforce.”

"I am trying to contact the company to set up an urgent meeting to see what can be done to help its employees whose years of valuable service have contributed to its prosperity.

"It's the hard work of these staff that have enabled AG Barr to expand and now they are being punished."