Agenda item

To receive announcements by the Leader


The Leader made the following announcements:


The closure of the Zimmer Biomet factory is likely to take up to two years to complete, and redundancies will take place throughout this period.


69 per cent of the redundancies were employees within the County Borough.


Together with partners we have met with senior managers at the factory to discuss how we can jointly support affected staff.


There was a meeting in the summer at Bridgend Job Centre where our Employability and Economic Development team were present to discuss the support that each organisation can provide Zimmer Biomet and their staff.


The official consultation period is due to end in October. The company has stated that they do not want any involvement from Welsh Government at the moment, other than to help look for a new company who may be interested in taking the factory unit on.


A further joint agency meeting will take place with the company during November to arrange suitable support for staff being who will be made redundant next year.


Rescue attempts for Wilko have not been successful. The Maesteg store closed its doors for the last time yesterday, while the Bridgend store will close tomorrow.


It was originally hoped that the two local stores would be included among those premises that have been purchased by B&M and Pepco. Unfortunately, this has not proven to be the case.


As a result, meetings have taken place with the Employability Bridgend team at both stores to offer support to employees being made redundant.


We are continuing to provide affected staff with direct help and advice, and all partners will work closely together over coming weeks and months to offer further support.


We continue to advertise and promote Bridgend County Borough as an excellent place for businesses to invest in. Further updates will be made available as the situation develops.


UK Government is to invest five hundred million pounds into helping the Tata Steelworks at Port Talbot make the transition towards cleaner, greener ways of producing steel.


Given the high number of residents of Bridgend County Borough Council who are employed at the plant, there are concerns over reports that trade unions were not included in the talks around the deal, and that there have been early warnings that the investment into new technology could also result in as many as 3,000 jobs being lost.


While this is a positive move towards decarbonisation, it is hoped that urgent discussions can take place which will seek to ensure the future of sustainable steelmaking in South Wales while also protecting jobs.


In addition to electric arc furnace technology, this could, for example, consider the use of further green steelmaking alternatives.


As members have been advised earlier, the Bridgend Indoor Market at the Rhiw Shopping Centre in Bridgend town centre has closed with immediate effect this afternoon.


The closure has been deemed necessary in the interests of public safety after a specialist inspection carried out this morning confirmed that there may be a potential issue involving the use of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) within the structure’s roof.


Bridgend County Borough Council has therefore taken swift action to close the indoor market to allow further in-depth assessments and surveys to be carried out, and for next steps to be agreed.


Traders have been informed and the Council will keep them fully up to date on the situation as it develops. The closure of the market hall does not affect the adjacent Rhiw Shopping Centre, which remains open as normal.


Bridgend County Borough Council has been carrying out inspections of all council-maintained premises in line with national advice from UK Government and Welsh Government.


The inspection process has prioritised local schools, where no areas of concern have been identified. The authority is currently in the process of checking other premises and infrastructure and carried out a visual inspection at the indoor market earlier this month as part of this process.


This determined that a more in-depth inspection by a Welsh Government approved specialist was required, which was carried out this morning. The decision to close the indoor market has been based on their findings.


Further surveying is now being arranged to establish the extent of the RAAC issue and what the long-term implications may be. As the council leases the market hall, the authority is also contacting the private owners as a matter of urgency.


To date, the Bridgend Indoor Market is the only premises where a potential issue involving RAAC has been detected.


We recognise the inconvenience and potential hardship this will cause to traders and the impact the loss of the market will have as a popular and busy place where people shop, meet and socialise.


Further updates will follow when available.


More information on RAAC is available from the Welsh Government website, by clicking on the link.