Community left 'devastated' by mine jobs threat
THE mayor of Glynneath has spoken of the "devastation" in the community about the mothballing of Aberpergwm Colliery.
Letters have been sent to workers informing them about the potential suspension of work at the site, which could see 251 people lose their jobs.
Town mayor Eddie Jones said: "I am absolutely gutted with the announcement. This is a major employer in the valley which has invested heavily in the area with good jobs, well-paid jobs.
"To hear this news before Christmas is devastating.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
"I have spoken to one of the employees who explained what is going on.
"It sounds as if most of the people there are going to be placed on gardening leave.
"He is a young man with a young family, with a mortgage. It is devastating.
"We are losing skills which are hopefully going to be needed in the future."
Suspension would affect a total of 270 employees, with 251 losing their jobs and 19 being kept on to run the mine on a care and maintenance basis.
The mine's parent company, Walter Energy, has entered into a 90-day consultation period with workers.
The American firm blamed the "challenging economic environment" for the plans.
"We are doing what we can to regenerate the area, doing what we can to push things forward," Mr Jones added.
"As a small valley community, it has a terrible effect. I want the best for our community."
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: "We are very disappointed with this announcement, which will come as a blow to the workers, their families and the local community.
"However, we are currently working with Walter Energy management to ensure that those affected by redundancy will be offered support via the React programme and to discuss how Welsh Government officials can support the company. In addition, officials remain in discussion with Walter Energy to explore additional support for the remaining workforce via the workforce development programme to address any skills gaps as a result of the redundancies."
Shadow Economy Minister, Plaid Cymru's Alun Ffred Jones, added: "It is extremely worrying to hear about the possible loss of 270 skilled jobs in Neath.
"Across Wales unemployment is extremely high, and the Welsh Government should be fighting to ensure that every possible job is kept.
"We want to see the Welsh Government engage with the company during its consultation process and do all it can to fight for these jobs to be retained."
Neath Port Talbot Council was unable to provide a response to the closure.