REDUNDANCIES are inevitable at a Valleys crisp factory gutted by fire, its owners say.
Tayto Crisps, which owns the Real Crisp plant in Crumlin, met staff on Monday to confirm it would pay employees until the end of October.
But while it said it could fund salaries until then, it was much more difficult to make concrete plans beyond then.
CEO Paul Allen said staff had agreed to be flexible and a small number would travel to the firm’s plant in Northern Ireland, which also hand fries crisps.
Others could be deployed to Corby, but he said this could only be a very short-term solution, because it was not economically practical and was disruptive for workers and their families.
He said: "Unfortunately it looks like redundancies will be inevitable. As yet we don’t know the extent or timescale, but feel it is only fair to our staff to give them as much warning as possible. "Many of them are very skilled and we shall be working hard to make sure we don’t lose that expertise, but clearly we will not be able to transfer 115 people around the country."
Only weeks ago the picture was very different with staff being asked to work extra hours.
Mr Allen said the company was in discussions with the Welsh Government about what could be done and to ensure the Real Crisp brand continued.
Insurers understand the urgency, he said and were co-operating fully, as is the site’s landlord.
A local councillor made a plea to keep the jobs in Crumlin amid workers’ fears that it may not re-open.
Closure would have 'devastating' impact - councillor
LOCAL councillor Keith Lloyd said it would have a “devastating” impact on the local community if it were to move elsewhere.
There are 115 people employed there, and Cllr Lloyd called on Caerphilly council and the Welsh Government to do all they can “to protect the livelihoods of employees and save jobs”.
Cllr Lloyd toured the plant earlier this year and said he was hugely impressed with the operation, adding that there is a great attachment locally to Real Crisps after it started in nearby Cwmfelinfach.
But, he said, he is concerned the destruction of the factory will mean the operation restarting at one of the company’s other sites.
He said: “This fire was devastating news for the company and the 115 employees. Everything must be done to protect their livelihoods and save jobs. “I understand from one employee that there was talk about alternative work in Northern Ireland, but that would clearly cause major disruption for individuals and their families.”
Colin Goulding, 30, of Bridge Street, Abertillery, was charged with arson with intent to endanger life following the fire which happened on September 21. He will appear in court on Thursday.
ARE YOU ONE OF THE WORKERS AT THE CRUMLIN PLANT? Tell us what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01633 777226.
COMMENT: Bitter blow if jobs go
IT TOOK several days and the work of dozens of firefighters but the flames have now died out on the Crumlin crisp factory fire.
As the dust settles, though, what is immediately apparent is the utter destruction of the factory.
Company bosses at Tayto have understandably taken immediate steps to ensure production continues by transferring the work to one of the firm’s other plants. They have to satisfy their customers’ needs and, of course, be fair to their suppliers and growers.
But they also have a responsibility to their staff.
And our concern is for the future security of the jobs at the Crumlin factory, which employs 115 people.
These jobs are vital to the local economy.
It would be a bitter blow for the area if as a result of the fire those jobs were lost.
We echo the views of local councillor Keith Lloyd, who is calling on Caerphilly council and the Assembly to work with the company to make sure the jobs remain in this area. And we appeal to the company to maintain its presence in this area.
We understand why it is first having to deal with the immediate problems of insurance and safety assessments.
But the next priority must be committing to secure the future of the plant. It would a crying shame if the workers lost the jobs through no fault of their own.