Hundreds backing campaign to save Alcan plant

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SUPPORT is growing for the campaign to save Lynemouth’s Rio Tinto Alcan aluminium plant from closure.

Further meetings have taken place between the General, Municipal, Boilermakers (GMB) union and MPs, and more than 770 people have so far signed petitions calling on the government to intervene.

Concerns have been raised that if the smelter was to close, it would mean the loss of 512 jobs on site and 320 at various contractors, as well as affecting up to 3,000 jobs in the plant’s supply chain.

A meeting was held on Friday as part of the Save Our Smelter campaign launched by the GMB and Mr Lavery was among those present.

GMB regional organiser Keir Howe said: “Ian Lavery has been working tirelessly with the unions to try and Save Our Smelter, and the GMB is disappointed others have not engaged in the same way.”

The union is hoping to set up a meeting between Rio Tinto Alcan and potential buyers for the aluminium smelter, but the bid on the table has been dismissed by the firm as lacking credibility.

Two petitions have been launched, and they will be presented to the government next month.

They can be signed by visiting www.ipetitions.com/petition/sosalcan/ or www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/save-our-smelter

n Production was halted at the plant after a power cut last week.

Its power station lost all power shortly before midnight a week ago on Tuesday.

That meant there was no power supply available for the next-door aluminium smelter.

A spokesman for the smelter said there were no injuries to any employees and no environmental damage caused by the incident.

Partial power was restored at 2am the following day but lost again a short time later. It was not until 8am that some power was restored to the site.

Full power was not restored until later in the week.

The spokesman added: “The incident has left line two of the Lynemouth smelter out of operation and Rio Tinto Alcan personnel are working to stabilise line one at the plant.

“Rio Tinto Alcan has launched its full emergency procedure in response to the incident.”

n Turn to Page 4 for the latest on our Keep Northumberland Working campaign.