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Tata industrial action begins as workers fight to stop shutdown plans

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AROUND 1,500 Tata steelworkers based in Port Talbot and Newport Llanwern will stage industrial action over the company’s plans to close its blast furnaces and cut 2,800 jobs.

The workers, who are members of Unite, will begin working to rule as well as taking part in a continuous overtime ban from 18 June. The industrial action will severely disrupt and delay Tata’s operations and order book. Strike action will be scheduled if the company does not row back on its plans.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tata has miscalculated, its workers know a better future is possible and they will be taking industrial action to fight for it, with Unite using every tool at its disposal to make the company change course.

“This hugely wealthy company knows UK steel capacity and jobs can be retained as the transition is made to green steel. Tata’s disastrous deal with the current government would only see its other overseas operations take advantage of the coming boom in green steel at the expense of South Wales.

“Now that we will have a new government in July, Tata can no longer ignore Labour’s call to wait for the £3 billion UK Steel Investment Fund, a commitment secured by Unite.”

Unite regional secretary for Wales, Peter Hughes, said: “Tata’s attempts to bribe and then threaten its workforce from taking industrial action have failed. Our members will not stand quietly by and allow Tata to needlessly trash jobs and communities and commit serious harm to both the Welsh economy and national security. Unite is backing them to the hilt as they take industrial action to force Tata to stop its job cuts.”

Business

Commercial property demand falls but investment enquiries for industrial space up

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OVERALL occupier demand for commercial property in Wales declines at all-sector level
Industrial space continues to outperform both retail and office sectors
Surveyors in Wales more optimistic on the 12-month outlook for capital values
Occupier demand for commercial property in Wales fell in Q2 after rising through the first quarter of the year according to the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Commercial Property Monitor as the industrial sector continues to outperform both office and retail.

A net balance of -17% of surveyors in Wales reported that occupier demand fell at all-sector level through the second quarter of the year. Looking at the subsectors, demand for both office and retail space was reported to have declined, with net balances of -25% and -27% respectively. Occupier demand for industrial space was noted to have fallen flat through Q2.

At all-sector level, a net balance of -19% of surveyors in Wales reported a fall in investment enquiries. Investment enquiries were up in the industrial sector, with a net balance of 6% of respondents noting an increase. A net balance of -36% of survey respondents noted a fall in demand from investors, and -27% reported a fall for office space.

Capital values are expected to fall in the short term, with a net balance of -13% anticipating a decline over the next three months at all sector level, down from 7% in Q1. Looking at the subsectors, industrial space is the only subsector in which capital values are expected to rise with a net balance of 27% anticipating an increase. A net balance of -23% of Welsh respondents expect a fall in retail space and -43% in office space.

On the 12-month horizon, surveyors in Wales appear more upbeat with a net balance of 13% of respondents anticipating a rise in capital value expectations over the next year at all-sector level. Surveyors in Wales anticipate that capital values for both office and industrial space will rise over the next year, 8% and 47% respectively whilst retail space is expected to fall (a net balance of -17%).

Chris Sutton of Sutton Consulting Ltd in Cardiff commented: “The industrial market remains strong, particularly along the M4 corridor with quoting rents of £9.00+psf on St Modwen Park, Newport for Grade A large units. On the opposite side of Newport, KLA has developed a 220,000 sq ft production / R&D facility at Imperial Park. Other bright spots are the data and energy sectors. In Cardiff, Grade A offices remain in demand as tenants readjust their occupational footprints to increased tech and new working practices.”

Haydn Thomas of Hutchings &| Thomas property consultants, in Newport added: “The South Wales commercial property market remains fairly static, with some sectors such as industrial space and roadside drive thru doing well. Lack of supply of front door owner occupier office space remains an issue especially from 3-5,000 sq ft. Demand for office space with larger floor plates remains low; Cardiff City may be bucking this trend slightly. Retails in city centres remains a problem, however, some smaller market towns seem to be doing well in terms of occupancy.”

Commenting on the UK picture, RICS Senior Economist, Tarrant Parsons, says: “Overall activity remains relatively subdued across the UK commercial property market, with conditions seen as generally flat in Q2. That said, respondents now feel the market is moving towards the early stages of an upturn following a challenging couple of years.

“The near-term path for monetary policy will be key to the outlook for CRE investment going forward, although hopes of an immediate easing in lending rates may be optimistic given still sticky services inflation (even if the headline rate has returned to target). Away from the cyclical picture, a strong structural trend that continues is the outperformance of prime office markets compared their struggling secondary counterparts. In particular, prime offices across London are seen delivering solid capital value and rental income returns over the coming twelve months.”

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County Show would not be the amazing event it is without its sponsors

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY SHOW would not be the amazing event it is without its sponsors, organisers said this week.

With less than a month to go until Pembrokeshire County Show, the largest county agricultural show in Wales, preparations are coming together well for what is set to be a fantastic two days of livestock, competitions, attractions, trade stands and much more.

Discounted tickets for the show, taking place on Wednesday and Thursday, 14 & 15 August, are available to purchase online from the website until midnight on Tuesday, 13 August. Adults £15, children £8 (5-16 years) under 5s are free. Please visit: www.pembsshow.org

Putting together the annual event is hard work and requires an enormous effect by the staff, volunteers and trustees of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society. The Society is indebted to so many for their commitment and support in helping host the event.

A special mention must go to the county show sponsors. Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society is proud to have many local, regular, sponsors who make the event possible.

Sponsorship Director, Richard Cole, said, “Sponsorship and Pembrokeshire County Show have been a successful combination for almost 50 years. Sponsors have enjoyed promoting their businesses through the varied mediums of banners, announcements, show rings, buildings, equine and livestock classes and championships over the years. We are always grateful for their support. Without them it would not be possible to put on the show.”

Pure West Radio (PWR) will be back at the 2024 Pembrokeshire County Show as the Society’s official media partner. PWR will provide live broadcasting from 6am everyday with live entertainment, competitions, travel updates and much more on the mainstage. Show-goers will be able to tune in to Pure West Radio for all the latest news from the show first hand as well as soaking up what’s on offer at this year’s show.

Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society would especially like to thank the following corporate sponsors of Pembrokeshire County Show: Castell Howell Foods Ltd, NFU Mutual Pembrokeshire, Welsh Government, J E Lawrence & Son, Euromeats, CCF Ltd, Principality Building Society, Antony & Nick Rees Livestock; Castle Morris equine & pets, Tallis Amos Group, Floventis, Certas Energy, Fenton Vets, Women in Wales, Cotts Equine, Mason Brothers, Puffin Produce Ltd, CLA Charitable Trust and St Ishmaels Garden Centre.

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Câr-Y-Môr ocean farm purchases The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Co

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WALES’ first regenerative ocean farm, Câr-Y-Môr, has purchased The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company. The purchase, completed on July 4, 2024 and announced today, Wednesday July 24, at The Royal Welsh Show, will expand Câr-Y-Môr’s selection of seaweed and shellfish products with an exciting new range of seaweed deli produce.

The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company was founded in 2012 by local entrepreneur Jonathan Williams, inspired by his love of food, the beach, and the sea. Its deli products grew from recipes created at Café Mor, the award-winning solar-powered mobile street food kitchen Jonathan set up in 2010.

Over the years, The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company’s products have won several coveted Great Taste awards, and the range has grown to include dried seaweeds, seasonings and sauces, seaweed butters and pestos, and laverbread, a culinary staple of Welsh culture.

Its products will now enhance Câr-Y-Môr’s existing online and wholesale seaweed and shellfish offering, allowing customers to access a premium seafood and a deli range, directly from Câr-Y-Môr’s website and farm shop, as well as the existing Pembrokeshire Beach Foods site.

St Davids-based Câr-Y-Môr produces seaweed and shellfish in the Grade A waters of Ramsey Sound, on Pembrokeshire’s beautiful coast. It was formed as a Community Benefit Society in 2019, providing year-round employment opportunities and support to the local community, while advancing the regenerative ocean farming industry in Wales and beyond.

As a pioneer investor and early supporter of Câr-Y-Môr’s journey, ever-busy entrepreneur Jonathan Williams will be charting a course for new challenges, including a Blue Carbon project, running The Old Point House pub in Angle, and overseeing operations at Barti Rum, a seaweed infused spice rum.

Jonathan Williams said: “I’m proud to be passing The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company into such safe hands. It’s been a wonderful journey building the company and showcasing the outstanding produce that comes from the seas off the Pembrokeshire Coast. Câr-Y-Môr shares the same commitment to championing Welsh delicacies through sustainable food production that benefits the people and communities of Pembrokeshire. I’m very pleased to see The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company moving on to an exciting new chapter.”

The purchase will enhance Câr-Y-Môr’s food offering, but this is just one part of the ocean farm’s work. In addition to products for consumption, Câr-Y-Môr is collaborating with partners to develop products such as biostimulants and bioplastics, in a move to inspire other well-established industries—from agriculture to consumer packaging—to develop greener practices using abundant and sustainable resources from the sea.

Câr-Y-Môr founder Owen Haines said: “We’re very excited to have purchased The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, which is a perfect addition to Câr-Y-Môr’s food offering. As well as the existing website, its products will be available direct from Câr-Y-Môr for pick-up and home delivery, alongside our outstanding fish and seafood. Our mission is to improve the coastal environment and the well-being of the local community through regenerative ocean farming and sustainable job creation, and this new purchase will help us to further that aim.

“We are looking forward to developing The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company’s offering while also continuing our important work to pioneer new ways to harness the sea’s sustainable resources in industries beyond the food sector.”

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