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Atmel closure brings united response

Date 11 Oct 2007
Author The Editor
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Public and private sector agencies have united to provide a swift response to the closure of the Atmel plant at North Tyneside. A response group led by North Tyneside Council has been set up to offer the maximum possible package of help to the hundreds of workers affected by the American company's decision to sell the site.

The council, with the support of One NorthEast, Job Centre Plus, Business Link North East and the North East Chamber of Commerce, will offer immediate practical assistance to Atmel employees. It will provide a tailor-made package of support to every worker to give them the best possible chance of finding new work. The group will also look at how best to support suppliers to Atmel who may be affected.

North Tyneside Chief Executive Andrew Kerr said: "Our first priority is the workers and their future. The public sector has moved quickly and is united in helping provide Atmel employees with every chance of finding new employment opportunities. "This is a highly skilled workforce which has worked extremely hard to create a high performing operation at the plant and we will do everything we can to retain those skills in the area."

Previous public sector response groups have a track record of success. More than 80% of workers who lost their jobs following the closure of Samsung at Wynyard in 2004 were in new employment or training within six months. Similarly 85 per cent of LG Philips workers were in new employment or training within six months of the plant closure in Durham in 2005.

Mr Kerr said: "The North East economy is far more resilient to deal with this closure than it was just a decade ago and North Tyneside has a strong economy and a proven record of attracting both investment and jobs. "The resource group will seek clarity and assurances from Atmel on the future of the site and what will happen to the land and buildings there. The next step has to be working towards the re-use of the site to provide high quality employment opportunities."

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