Talks start as Neath Valley miners' jobs under threat
MINE workers in the Neath Valley have received confirmation that jobs are under threat at the Aberpergwm Colliery.
A spokesman for Walter Energy, the American parent company which owns the mine, said the formal consultation would take place shortly over the plans, which are believed to involve axing 90 of the 334-strong workforce.
He said: "We are bitterly disappointed with the situation we find ourselves in, but unfortunately the coal industry globally has not been sheltered from the effects of the global economic difficulties.
"Whilst Walter Energy remains committed to continuing the project at Aberpergwm Colliery, whereby we aim to make a sustainable profitable business creating employment for many years to come, unfortunately we aren't in a position to continue with the project at the pace that we are at present, and therefore must scale back until circumstances change.
"The company has had to prioritise projects due to low global coal prices, continuing the most aggressive development in established markets and locations where governmental support for the development was the strongest.
"The company is also concerned with the implications of a local planning application for wind farms above the Aberpergwm colliery.
"Should this application be accepted, then this may sterilise the land for mining purposes, and as such further jeopardise the employment of those at Aberpergwm.
"As we have not yet commenced any formal consultation it is inappropriate for us to make any further comment."
Union leaders were yesterday due to meet bosses at the mine for the first talks over the potential job losses.
NUM representative Wayne Thomas confirmed half the workforce at the mine are over the age of 50.
Mr Thomas added news of the job losses came as a shock to the staff.
"As far as we are concerned we will look after the membership at the expense of non-members," he said.