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Friday 19 Sep 2014

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Taro Naw investigates life after Anglesey Aluminium

Anglesey was hit hard last year when Anglesey Aluminium decided to bring its production to a halt with the loss of 400 jobs. When they stopped production in September, Anglesey Aluminium mothballed the plant in case they could restart production if future market conditions improved.

BBC Wales's current affairs programme Taro Naw now understands that a final decision will be made in the next few months. But, with fierce competition in the industry from developing nations, Monday's programme (22 March) asks how likely this really is.

Six months after production came to a halt, the programme looks at the effect of the closure on the employees and how successful they've been in finding other work. It follows the story of three former employees, one as far as India, to see his new life and work with an aluminium company.

Geraint Evans, from Llanfairpwll, has experienced a radical and unexpected change of life following his redundancy from Anglesey Aluminium. Geraint, who's in his fifties, now lives in India, in the remote town of Jharsuguda, where British company Vedanta is building the biggest aluminium production plant in the world.

As head of start-up he enjoys a high standard of living, but it comes at a price, as his wife and grown-up children remain in Wales.

"I felt very sad," he told Taro Naw about losing his job. "But I thought: 'I have to find work', especially with the skills I've learnt in Anglesey Aluminium, and there's no chance for a job in Britain. So I thought OK, I'll move to somewhere like Oman, India or Canada."

He's not, however, very hopeful about the future of the industry in Wales.

"Electricity is very expensive in Britain. You need electricity and alumina to make aluminium so I don't see anything in Britain for a very long time."

Aneurin Jones has stayed in Anglesey after losing his job. But, 20 interviews later, he is still unemployed. And, with four children and a mortgage, making ends meet is an increasing battle.

Aneurin doesn't hold much hope of finding a similar job in the foreseeable future.

"There isn't a lot out there. Every job you go for, hundreds go for the same ones because most jobs – building jobs and so on – the Tinto lads [what they call Anglesey Aluminium locally] go for them."

When he was made redundant, Alan Williams decided to set up his own concrete pumping business. The venture has meant leaving the island for Saltney, where the affluent towns of Cheshire offer more building opportunities.

"There's a lot more money here – you have the racecourse nearby, which attracts people. I see nothing that attracts people to Anglesey – not work, anyway," he says.

Taro Naw, Monday, 22 March, BBC Cymru Wales on S4C, 9.30pm.

MW

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