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Shock as Bridgend plant closure puts over 500 jobs at risk

29 Jun 2023 3 minute read
Zimmer Biomet'
Zimmer Biomet’s plant in Bridgend. Photo via Google

An American owned company which specialises in manufacturing medical good has confirmed it is closing its Bridgend plant putting over 500 jobs at risk.

Zimmer Biomet’s decision to close its premises to the workforce was announced earlier today (Thursday 29 June).

Plant director Maria Silva said she would “evaluate alternatives and how to limit the loss of jobs” during a six month consultation period.

Employees were informed of the closure at a staff meeting this morning.

The leader of Bridgend County Borough Council described the announcement as a “significant blow for staff and the local economy”.

Complete shock

Councillor Huw David said: “Zimmer Biomet is a major employer across Bridgend County Borough, and this news has come as a complete shock not only to the company’s skilled and loyal workforce, but to the local authority as well.

“We are seeking to urgently meet with unions and senior managers, and will be offering to set up an employment hub at the Zimmer Biomet premises so that our Employability Team can offer direct support to affected staff, who will be deeply worried for themselves and their families at this moment.

“We are also asking Welsh Government and the UK Government to urgently engage with Zimmer Biomet so that potential alternatives to these job losses can be explored.

“While this news arrives as a significant blow for both staff and the local economy, the council and its partners will be working closely together over the weeks and months to come, and will do everything that we can to offer support and help.”

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “This is extremely disappointing news, and will be deeply concerning for staff at Zimmer Biomet and the wider community.

“The Welsh Government is now engaging with the company to understand the rationale for this decision and explore any options that exist to protect these jobs.

“Our priority now is to support the staff affected by today’s announcement. We will be working closely with Bridgend County Borough Council, the Department for Work and Pensions and the plant’s trade union to ensure employees receive the support they need.”

The Unite union, which represents workers at the plant, said it would “fight for jobs and a viable future for the site”.

Unite’s regional Wales secretary, Peter Hughes said: “The news today that Biomet are proposing a site closure of their facility at Bridgend will be devastating news to our members and their communities.

Unite will explore every avenue available to prevent the current proposal from proceeding. Almost 550 well-paid, highly skilled jobs are at stake here, and the Bridgend area cannot absorb the economic impact this closure would bring.

During the six month consultation period Unite will fight for jobs and a viable future for the site”.

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Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
1 year ago

This is a moment to remember for all those who are crying out for inward foreign investment in Cymru. International companies are not loyal to the countries in which they invest. Their only motivation is profit, so if one country becomes proportionately more expensive than others (as Brexit Britain has) then it will simply up sticks and shift production else where. This is espeially so since so many countries offer ‘incentives’ to do re-location which makes the cost of doing so for the company really quite small. What we really need is investment by Welsh entrepreneurs in Wales.

1 year ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

Can’t argue with that at all Peter. As a sweeping generalisation, carpetbagging by fickle global organisations is at epidemic levels especially as governments tend to spray grants and other concessions far more liberally at companies “from away” while adopting much more of a disdainful stance towards many sound native propositions engaging in long drawn out assessments and evaluations which drive people into seeking backing elsewhere and just not being able to grow at the desired pace. Having said all that ZB have a comparatively long history at Bridgend. They employ a lot of genuinely skilled people with expertise in precision… Read more »

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
1 year ago

Anything to do with ‘Brexit’ and subsequent intro of reams of red tape?

1 year ago

It’s blindingly obvious but the media is cowed and the people of Bridgend voted for their own economic suicide and are unlikely to admit to their stupidity.

1 year ago

With high inflation (partly caused by Brexit), high interest rates, British manufacturing in recession and Brexit (voted for by the people of Bridgend) which makes it more expensive and beurocratic to export to the largest single market in the World this is no surprise. However, with these disastrous economic impacts created by or assisted by the UK Gov, on BBC Wales all you’ll probably hear is what the Welsh Gov has not done.

Nia James
Nia James
1 year ago

The benefits of Brexit just go on and on. The Bridgend workers will be offered jobs at Zimmer’s other plants across the EU. So, there is some hope but it will be interesting to see how many take up this opportunity or will they be content to stay in Bridgend, with little prospect of a comparative well paid post.

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