Some 150 workers from Eaton Electric and their families marched through Holyhead on Anglesey last Saturday to protest at the loss of their jobs. The march was led by Albert Owen, the local Labour MP.
More than 250 jobs will go as the company switches production to Austria, where Eaton claims production costs are 30 percent lower. The company produces miniature circuit breakers.
Anglesey is being hit hard by the recession. The island’s two largest employers – Anglesey Aluminium (part of the Rio Tinto multinational) and Wylfa nuclear power station – are due to run down their operations over the next couple of years.
“Anglesey is turning into an industrial wasteland with possible massive job losses at Anglesey Aluminium,” said Glyn Haynes of the Unite union.
“We want to retain jobs on the island. We want investment in meaningful jobs. That’s what we’re marching for here.”
Cliff Everett, a Labour county councillor for Holyhead, said he knew a number of husband and wife teams who worked at the Eaton factory. “It’s not a question of losing one job in a family, but losing two,” he said.
“You may as well close the town down. If there’s no money being spent in the town, the knock-on effect could threaten hundreds of jobs.”
Plaid Cymru’s leader Ieuan Wyn Jones promised that the Welsh Assembly would “do everything within its powers to influence Eaton to maintain a presence on the Holyhead site”.
The town of Holyhead has one of the worst-hit high streets in Wales. Some 38 percent of its shop space is already vacant – and more is due to close.