Monday, February 23, 2009

It could have been worse.

I suppose today's announcement from Control Techniques in Newtown of 30 redundancies, and that the factory is going onto short time working is bad news for the Mid Wales economy. But it doesn't seem such bad news when you've been expecting it to be worse.

Control Techniques is a hugely important employer in Mid Wales, and has been ever since Trevor Wheatley, Kevin Curran and Ken Briggs moved in their small little business, called KTK perhaps 30 years ago. It grew, and grew, and grew and was eventually taken over by its current American owners, Emerson. One of the biggest decisions I was ever involved in was to build the R&D headquarters for the company in Newtown - well before Emerson were on the scene. At the time, I was Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales. My view was that the building had to be of sufficient stature to encourage any future owner to stay in Newtown. That seems to have been a decent decision. There are about 350 employed in the manufacturing unit, and perhaps another 100 in the R&D unit - big numbers for Mid Wales.

I'd heard rumours about redundancies at Control Techniques, and was fearing really bad news. Today's announcement informs us that there are to be 30 redundancies - voluntary in the first instance. And there is to be a reduction in working hours of one day per fortnight. Of course its disappointing when jobs are lost, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse. I spent the morning in Welshpool Town Hall, listening to representatives from Jobcentre Plus, Careers Wales, and TGAL (Business Advisory Service) explaining options and rights to the 90 strong Floform workforce who were just ordered to leave the factory with 5 minutes notice last week - one of the worst examples of disgraceful treatment of workers I've ever seen. Now that's what I call bad news.

Control Techniques is still there, and looking strong, and employing well over 400 people in Newtown. Bearing in mind what's happening in the manufacturing sector, today's news doesn't seem that bad.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should count your blessings, Glyn. Wannabee celeb Lembit O'Pickled did you a HUGE favour on Saturday night. Do check out his toe-curlingly embarrassing performance on the various blogs. Nice to see Heledd Fychan giving voice to what everyone thinks. He just gets worse and worse. Surely he's now given up completely on politics?

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Interesing that Heledd takes such a different approach from me. She lets fly, while I tend to think there is no need to when everyone can make their own judgement. I have bee surprised that there hasn't been more condemnation of the column in the Daily Sport though. It really is demeaning to have our MP writing professionally for a porn newspaper.

alanindyfed said...

A period of austerity never did anyone any harm Glyn. It is possibly a good time to reflect on the demise of moral, judicial and ethical values which bedevils society in Britain today. That is the reason I stay away from it for the present.

Anonymous said...

If I had lost my job at Control Techniques and tuned into Ant and Dec on Saturday night, I would have been mighty p****d off to see my MP making such a total idiot of himself. I would also have asked, is not Saturday surgery day in the constituency? If so, how long was said surgery, bearing in mind he had to travel the long journey to London and then rehearse for the show. And not only that, this is an ongoing weekly show, so clearly Lembit Opik was prepared to neglect his surgery week after week, had he stayed in the show. These are the questions that need to be answererd

Blidyn said...

Wasn't it Ken Briggs? as part of the KTK

Glyn Davies said...

Blydin - Thanks. What on earth possessed me to get Ken's name wrong. I've corrected it.