SOME of the best-paid manufacturing jobs in Swansea have fallen victim to the global slump in the civil aviation sector.
Around 170 to 180 jobs have gone at the Timet UK titanium factory in Waunarlwydd, according to a union official.
He said the vast majority of these had been compulsory redundancies.
Timet UK has not commented but had been consulting with unions and staff earlier this summer about 142 posts at its Waunarlwydd site, and a further 141 posts at its Birmingham plant.
The company makes titanium components like blades and fans for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines.
Rolls-Royce has cut costs and shed around 4,000 jobs since May as aircraft manufacturers everywhere have reduced production in response to coronavirus travel restrictions.
It is understood that more than 100 staff remain at the Waunarlwydd site. The firm’s order books were said to be in robust shape before the Covid-19 crisis.
Swansea councillor Chris Holley, who used to work at the plant as a maintenance fitter for 30 years, said:
“The job losses at Timet are a very real blow to the workforce and their families.
“The loss of highly skilled jobs will affect a wide section of our community, seeing a loss of earnings.”
He added: “I hope when this terrible pandemic is finally beaten and travel resumes to the levels of 2019 then many of the people made redundant will be re-employed.”
One employee, speaking at the start of the consultation period, described Timet UK as a good employer, with terms and conditions which were good for the area.
“If they advertise for jobs, you get 5,000 people applying,” he said. “It’s high-tech stuff.”
The factory used to be owned by Imperial Metals Industries (IMI) before American-owned Timet took it over.
The current situation has been the subject of discussions between the company and Welsh Government officials.
The union Unite Wales and First Minister Mark Drakeford signed a joint letter last week with the leaders of Scotland and Northern Ireland to the Prime Minister calling for urgent intervention to safeguard jobs in the UK aerospace sector.
They want a UK aerospace taskforce set up to try to avoid more significant job losses.
Peter Hughes, Unite Wales secretary, said: “Tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and those supported by the aerospace sector in the supply chain are on the brink of being lost forever.”
Swansea West MP Geraint Davies said the UK Government’s furlough should be extended to help companies like Timet.
He said businesses should also contact the Welsh Government to see what support it could offer adding:
“The Welsh Affairs Select Committee is about to publish a report about Covid and the economy, and we are looking to make recommendations about sectoral support.”
Timet UK has been asked to comment.
In May, a spokeswoman for the firm said:
“As the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and other macro-economic factors have weighed on the world, many of our customers have or intend to curtail or reduce their production.
“Due to the resulting reduction in orders, there is an immediate need to right-size our business to align with the demand for our products.”