Written by: Keith Tully
Reviewed: Monday 24th September, 2012
Bosses at a Welsh crisps company decimated by fire have said redundancies are almost inevitable.
The Real Crisps factory in Crumlin, Caerphilly, caught fire last Thursday (20 September) and it took more than 50 firefighters to tackle the blaze.
The factory employs 115 staff and bosses have admitted that some jobs will be lost and that wages will be paid until the end of October.
Police are investigating whether the factory was subject to an arson attack and an arrest has been made against a 30-year-old factory employee.
Paul Allen, chief executive of Northern Ireland company Tayto Group, which owns the Real Crisps brand, said:
"While we can guarantee salaries to staff until the end of October, it is much more difficult to have any concrete plans beyond that, at this stage.
"Staff have agreed to be flexible and a small number will be able to travel to our plant in Northern Ireland, where we also hand fry crisps. Others may be deployed to Corby, but obviously that cannot be anything but a very short-term solution.
"It's not practical economically and it's very disruptive for the individuals and their families. Unfortunately it looks like redundancies will be inevitable."
He added: "Only weeks ago we were looking for staff at the plant to do extra hours - now we are looking at job losses.
"It's hard to believe so much can change in such a short time, but we are in discussions with the Welsh government about what can be done and we shall make sure that the Real brand will continue."
Local councillor Keith Lloyd said it would have a “devastating” impact on the local community if it were to move elsewhere.
He said: “This fire was devastating news for the company and the 115 employees. Everything must be done to protect their livelihoods and save jobs.”