ALMOST 100 jobs are under threat at a Newport recycling facility whose parent company has called it “commercially unattractive”.
Metal recycling giant Sims officially opened its £12 million waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) reprocessing facility in South Dock in 2009 and was attended by Rhodri Morgan, the then First Minister.
But Sims has announced that legislation and market dynamics in the UK have resulted in the business becoming commercially unattractive to the company.
A Sims spokesman confirmed that, subject to consultation, the proposal is to close the Newport WEEE Plant. There are 99 roles directly associated with the facility that could be affected should the proposal be realised.
The collective consultation period started on July 10 and is set for a minimum of 45 days.
The spokesman said: "We are collectively consulting with employee representative and Trade Union representatives.
"Employees would also be consulted with on an individual basis if they could be affected by any decisions reached at the end of the collective consultation process."
The 100,000 tonne-a-year capacity plant is near to Sims' fridge recycling plant, however the company have said that this will not be affected by the restructuring activities taking place in the UK.
The plant processes waste electrical and electronic equipment from businesses, using technology to separate out metals and plastics. These are then sold on to be used in the manufacture of new products. It also refurbishes computers.
A spokesman for the union, GMB, confirmed the position of the company, and said a consultation process is normal procedure during a redundancy process. They also said no final decision had been made.
He said that there are a number of measures in effect to try to avoid the closure of the facility. He said these are currently being discussed as part of the consultation.
Sims have said that the UK-wide restructuring initiative is designed to streamline its recycling business, Sims Recycling Solutions, and that, following a review, "certain loss-making assets" had been identified. These are said to be "outside of the strategic long-term interests" of the company.
The plant received financial support from the Welsh Assembly Government in 2009, with Mr Morgan calling it the “world’s leading facility” at the opening of the 36 acre-site.
He said at the time: “This is good for Newport and good for Wales and puts us firmly at the top of the tree.”
A spokeswoman for Newport City Council said that they are “saddened to hear of the news of potential redundancies at the Sims Recycling Centre in Newport.”
She added: “This is very upsetting news for all involved. The council hopes that the employees will be able to secure rewarding employment for the workers who have much to contribute to the local economy.
“The economic climate remains very challenging but one of our priorities as a council is to encourage investment and we are working hard to achieve that objective.”