06/12/2011 Midlands Today


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Hello. Welcome to the programme. The headlines. 200 jobs to go at


Cadbury, but American owners Kraft Foods say they and investing �50


million in the business. We will try to reduce the implications for


the work force and make sure they are treated with fairness and


dignity to stop chaos on the railways, as over headlines come


down leaving commuters to walk along the tracks. There was a huge


flash, forward by this sound that was the cable hitting the roof of


the train. And the Prince of Wales surprises troops with a surprise


visit to their hospital in Birmingham. And an appeal to save


Coventry's ice hockey team, as sponsorship cash tills to


materialise. -- fails. Good evening, welcome to Tuesday's Midlands Today


from the BBC. Tonight: Job losses at Cadbury. American owners Kraft


say hundreds of jobs are to go at three factories. So let's look at


those plans. Around 200 jobs will be lost at the chocolate maker's


headquarters in Bournville in Birmingham, Marlbrook in


Herefordshire and Chirk near Oswestry. Kraft say the cuts are


essential as part of a �50 million investment plan to expand


production in the UK. But tonight unions warned they would not accept


compulsory redundancies. Here's Bob Hockenhull. The run-up to Christmas


- a busy time for Cadbury- but today the company's owners Kraft


Foods revealed they'll be making chocolate with a smaller workforce


in future. 200 jobs are to go across three factories in


Bournville in Birmingham, Herefordshire and Chirk near


Oswestry. It is a shock, and where to King it in. The trade union is


totally opposed to compulsory redundancies, and if there are any,


we want to make sure there will -- that these will be on a voluntary


basis. The jobs will go as part of a �50 million investment programme.


Kraft Foods says new production lines using the latest technology


will be created at its sites to increase productivity. But the


restructuring will need fewer staff. When Kraft Foods a quiet Cadbury in


2010 it gave a two-year commitment that no jobs would be cut. Since


none of these 200 posts will be lost before March 2012, the company


insists that it is sticking to its work. -- word. Despite the job


losses, Kraft Foods is keen to put a positive spin on today's


announcement. This is not about jobs reduction, this is about


investment. And this is the key point. It is great that we are


investing in the factory and in this site, here. The changes come


as Kraft Foods -with an estimated �30 billion turnover- splits in two.


American boss Irene Rosenfeld - who wouldn't face MPs over questions


about job concerns, remains in charge of confectionery - so has


the ultimate say on Cadbury. Our business correspondent Peter


Plisner is at Cadbury's Bournville HQ now. Peter, Kraft say the job


cuts are needed as part of multi- million pound investment plan, but


usually investment means creating jobs, not shedding them. In this


case, investment in new technology means investment in automation and


greater productivity which means fewer jobs. Canberra will not say


which of the West Midlands sites these jobs are going at yet. It


hopes to make the job cuts through voluntary redundancies. The unions


are concerned that business leaders are welcoming the investment in


this and other plans. I am joined by Ceri Blackett from the Chamber


of Commerce. Good news about the investment, bad news about their


jobs. The says about the future of this wonderful business, globally,


and it is about building a sustainable number of jobs. We want


jobs for the long-term and that is what this announcement is saying.


Kraft Foods have said no job losses were two years, and right on the


bed lying, have announced job cuts. It would be foolish do expect long-


term job guarantees in a competitive business like this.


This is Rav Boots and Cadbury saying they are investing in this


area. There is a lot of good news. It is sad to see some jobs go, but


this is about long-term, sustainable jobs. When Cadbury was


taken over by Kraft Foods it was feared that some more factories


could go. Tonight, that looks less likely with this and this month. --


this investment. Meanwhile, 220 jobs are under threat at a


Birmingham manufacturing company. Tucker Fasteners has been based in


Perry Barr for more than 100 years. But its parent company, Stanley


Black and Decker, wants to stop production with the work moving to


Germany. The company says the plant has made consistent losses since


1999. And later in tonight's programme forging new business


links with the growing economies of the Far East. Birmingham


International Airport and Chinese- owned MG cars link up to push for


direct flights to China. There's been chaos today on the region's


busiest rail line. An overhead power cable came down at Penkridge


in Staffordshire at around 8:30am this morning, causing the closure


of the entire line between Stafford and Wolverhampton and affecting


services to Birmingham. These passengers were evacuated from one


of the affected trains after the damaged power line hit the top of


the carriages. They waited two hours before someone came to escort


them off the train and lead them to safety down the tracks. He had just


come through Penkridge, and then there was a huge pink flash, and


then some clattering sounds which was the Cable's hitting the roof of


the train, and one of the cables damaged the window opposite me. It


was a bit startling. correspondent David Gregory is at


Penkridge station for us now - so what's happening there, David? And


what do they think went wrong? There you go, that is the first


trio of the day, through Penkridge station. Repair crews will be


closing this line again and going back to repair the overhead


electrical cables at a cost these problems and it is hoped that all


trains will be back to normal tomorrow morning. What do they


Think went wrong? There was a problem with the overhead cable


yesterday which was repaired overnight and when the first train


went through, the cable became wrapped around the component on the


top of the train that draws power from the cable. That was pulled


down, and that is what that passenger was describing to oz


earlier. When crews get back to repair this component, hopefully,


the chaos that we have seen today will not be repeated tomorrow.


families of wounded servicemen and women will be able to stay close to


their loved ones after a donation from the News of the World


newspaper. After it shut in the phone hacking scandal, the


newspaper gave �1 million which will go towards accommodation at


the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham. Today, the


Prince of Wales visited the centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to


talk to troops wounded in Afghanistan. Andy Newman reports.


He's becoming something of a familiar figure at the QE. Prince


Charles been averaging three visits a year and always aims to come once


in the run up to Christmas. Despite there being no pre-publicity a


spontaneous crowd greeted him with real warms and affection each


hoping to be rewarded with a royal handshake or hello. Then it was


upstairs to the business of the day - first to meet the medical staff


treating servicemen at the royal centre for defence medicine before


disappearing for the private part of his visit. The Prince is meeting


15 servicemen being treated and the special military what, and we have


not been allowed to film that because some of them are still


traumatised, having only recently been removed from the battlefield.


It is a morale booster for everybody. He takes a real interest


in the patients and the staff, which introduced a better patient


care. Elsewhere at the hospital it was business as unusual as fund


raisers confirmed that they're on track to build a residential centre


for service personnel and their families, a project kick started by


a donation of nearly �1 million from the News of the World when it


closed. After spending nearly two hours with the injured servicemen


The Prince meanwhile was ready to leave, but he'll be back again soon,


you can bank on it. It is going to be a centre where military patients


can spend some time with their families and friends and their


friends from the regiment in an non-clinical environment. It is


also going to provide overnight accommodation for the families of


those military patients. The Prince, meanwhile, was ready to lead. But


he will be back again soon, you can bank on it. -- ready to leave. Five


members from a regiment recently returned from Afghanistan have been


presented with bravery awards by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The


men are from the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment. For several


years they've been based at Tern Hill in Shropshire, which has


become the regiment's adopted home. Joan Cummins reports. In their


third tour of Afghanistan, The Royal Irish lost three men. All


remembered in today's presentations at Buckingham Palace. In the


regiments own photographic records, the impact of the shropshire based


team in Afghanistan is clear. Today, Leuitenant Paul McFarland was


awarded the Military Cross for using his own body as a human


shield to protect a collegue in a grenade attack. The boys do things


like that across Afghanistan almost every day. It is a credit to


everyone. Just a bunch of guys, looking after each other. Sgt Peter


Keogh's mother cried when he told her he was to get the Military


Cross. He'd shown "exceptional courage" by making himself a target


for the Taliban enabling a stretcher party to reach a


helicopter. He sees the medal as a thank you to all his regiment.


is a great honour. I work with pride, but just for myself but for


the guys in the battalion who were her. So it was a great honour. --


who were hurt. And an MBE has been awarded to Major Jamie Humphries


for his work in defeating insurgents,but he remains modest


about his involvement. I was just lucky, or unlucky, enough that the


every I was was was well for was particularly busy. There is no way


that what I did was any different to what anyone else had done.


the men told me that despite the circumstances they were touched by


the hospitality of the Afghan people.. Still to come: We told you


it was cold, didn't we? This morning, drivers in the north of


the region woke up to their first significant snow of the winter.


More to come, Shefali? It looks like that could be, near the end of


the week, the result of an Arctic blast. And the indications are that


it could be more than just a dusting of snow. All the details


later. Chinese-owned MG Motor company has teamed up with


Birmingham Airport with aim of getting a direct flight to Shanghai


in China. It would be a big boost for businesses here, opening up new


potential markets as our political editor Patrick Burns reports. As


branding exercises go, this one was clear enough and so was the message


behind it. You can fly from Birmingham to the Far East, but not


without stopping somewhere along the way. These MGs have come from


no further afield than Longbridge, where 400 people now work at the


new model car plant. But lengthening this runway would


enable direct flights to the home of their parent company, Shanghai


Automotive. What we're trying to do is work together with the local


community, the local companies, to make us get better off from the


recession. Without improving links to the biggest emerging economy it


would be hard to sustain the region's claims to be a serious


player in global markets. You can look at Russia and Indonesia and


Brazil, who also want to connect with the UK, we still have a brick


economy. It is still a very strong economy. MG hope their �50 million


investment in the Midlands is just the start. The Chinese car market


is already more than ten times the size of the UK's. It's all about


leverage. MG have leverage with their parent company Shanghai


Automotive. They have leverage with the Chinese Government. They


certainly have leverage with the airlines. So the airport plan to


pull all these levers for the benefit of the W Midlands economy.


-- West Midlands. Time for the sports news now. There's another


sports team in Coventry with money troubles. Who is it this time? The


Coventry Blaze ice hockey team say they have just a month to survive


after unpaid sponsorship and a big drop in attendances left them


strapped for cash. They have now launched a fundraising push


starting with Saturday's home game against the Sheffield Sharks. Ice


hockey's a tough sport - and for the Coventry Blaze it just got


tougher. They were working hard on the ice today - but their problems


are off it. They've got money troubles and they've got just a


month before it runs out. Right that, it is a pretty serious


situation. If we don't come out and announce that we need the support


and help from fans and sponsors, unless there was a real need, and


we find ourselves in a bit of difficulty and we need help to get


through December. The main problem stems from the club sponsor


Coventry-based CPP Manufacturing. Their major shareholder, Lithuanian


businessman Vladimir Antonov, has been arrested on suspicion of fraud


and his assets have been frozen. And that means no money flowing


into the Blaze. But attendances are also down this season, so ticket


revenue has fallen by 20%. Head coach Paul Thompson is drumming up


support and trying to keep the players focused. You are


professional player. The clubbers in financial trouble. Christmas is


coming. Nobody is looking to leave. I cannot ask any more from these


guys. The fans are coming together. We are a special club. We have had


special times together. We are appealing to local people to come


out and support us. We have been here for 12 years, we want to be


here for the next 30 years. Thompson just like general manager


James Pease has been with the club for 12 years in Coventry - so they


are hurting more than most at the moment. They hope the city will


back the club - starting with Saturday's home game against


Sheffield Steelers. The Blaze have been a success story. The 2010


elite league title was their fourth in the last seven years. But if the


fans don't return in numbers, they might not have a club by the New


Year. So just how bad are their probems? Extremely serious, but it


is a cashflow problem and they the people to come to the matches, fast.


Just 1600 people at the game when Saturday. They the people to come


out, through December, so that they can start turning the clock round.


Coventry rugby club got relegated to the third tour of rugby. The


Football Club is faking fires as well. The Coventry blaze has been a


success story, but it is just another thing to be depressed about


in the City of Coventry, on the sporting front. Let us hope that


they can turn that Brad. Why do I know that been, and Vladimir Anton


of? He is the chairman of Portsmouth Football Club, so he has


been in the headlines because of that, as well. -- Vladimir Antonov.


12 months ago, we followed Bert Williams to Buckingham Palace to


receive his MBE from the Queen. Now, there's another honour for the


former Wolves and England goalkeeper. Bert, who will be 92


next month, has just opened the new leisure centre in his home town of


Bilston, near Wolverhampton. And it's been named in his honour, as


Ian Winter reports. Old friends reunited. Whenever Bert Williams


comes back home to Bilston he is always treated like royalty. And


he's always so humbled by the genuine warmth of the Black Country


welcome. But this was extra special. Because Bert was the VIP guest to


open Bilston's new leisure centre, named in his honour. This is for


all of you. Thank you very much were coming. A proud moment indeed


for Bert, who was born in nearby Bradley back in 1920. On this very


spot where the new centre now stands. He spent countless hours


playing football. He went on to become a goalkeeping legend with


Wolverhampton Wanderers and England. Billy Wright and Norman Plummer


head the all West Midlands teams onto the turf, for football's game


of the year. In 1949, Bert helped Wolves win the FA Cup at Wembley in


front of the future Queen, and went on to play more than 400 games for


his favourite club, plus 24 caps for England. So who better than


Bert himself to give me a guided tour, to see for ourselves the


state of the art facilities, costing almost �19 million. I have


never in my wildest dreams, would I believe that this could happen. It


is the finest sports centre I have seen a man live. Everywhere we went,


his eyes were as wide as saucers. Growing up in Bilston, young Bert


never dreamt of anything like this. It is a place to be proud of, isn't


it, really? He used to go swimming in the filthy canal, like all the


kids did. Now there's a 25 metre pool, warm and inviting. It makes


you feel like jumping in and joining them. And as for the new


fitness room, its in a league of its own. 100 workstations year.


is unbelievable. Everything here is on a grand scale. He is a legend


around here, and he has come back home, forever, in the name of this


building. Dennis Turner, now Lord Bilston, is one of Bert's lifelong


friends. They've never lost touch with their Black Country roots. And


when Bert turns 92 next month, he could not wish for a better gift


than the leisure centre that bears his name. Staying with sport, now.


Bill Sayer from Shrewsbury has a passion and it's rowing. Half a


century ago as a student he rowed for Cambridge University. Later, he


became a coach and now you can find him most days at the Pengwern Boat


Club on the River Severn, helping local youngsters develop their


talent. Nadine Towell has been to meet the last of our five finalists


in this year's BBC Midlands Sports Unsung Hero competition. Pengwern


Boat Club in Shrewsbury is like a second home for Bill Sayer. At


least five days every week, he and his wife Margaret are here,


dedicating hour after hour to the club's junior members. It does not


matter what level, if they are enjoying themselves and you'll do


it is rewarding for them, then it is rewarding for me. -- and


fuelling that it is rewarding. Robbie Massey was an undiscovered


talent until Bill spotted his potential. Seen here rowing


competitively in the Pengwern colours, recent results mean


Robbie's now one of the best young rowers in the country. His father


nominated Bill for our Unsung Hero award. Robbie is straining with the


Welsh squad in Cardiff. He has learned so much from Bill, who has


coached and encouraged him and transformed his life. During the


winter months weekday training is restricted to improving rowers'


technique on the indoor machines. But at the weekends they take to


the river. This Sunday, Bill and Margaret weren't here - they were


on their way home from a well- deserved holiday. But despite their


absence, their influence was still being felt. He is a very skilled


coach, as we can see, from how far will be has gone. He is so positive


in everything you do, and he cares about us as individuals. He goes to


all the races. He does not get paid or anything. He just does it for us.


Bill's knowledge of the sport is widely respected. And whether it's


top-class rowers or absolute beginners there's no doubting his


motivation and dedication, not to mention his modesty. I am very


conscious that there are lots of other volunteer sports coaches who


do a great deal, and I have a great deal of respect for them, I just do


it because I like it, and I did not expect this at all. There's a


waiting list for junior members at this club. According to the people


here that's largely thanks to the unsung efforts of Bill Sayer. Have


you ever done any rowing? Only a tiny bit on the river on Stratford.


That is what made me the rugged figure I am today! And, tomorrow


night, one of the five people we've featured who give up their time to


help others will be named our Unsung Sporting Hero for 2011. This


time last year, the mercury had plunged and we were in the midst of


icy blasts and snowstorms. It turned out to be the coldest winter


for 30 years. Although it's been milder so far, families in the


north of the region woke up to the first significant snow of the


winter. Here's our Staffordshire reporter, Liz Copper. On the Leek


to Buxton road the craggy rocks of the Roaches are blanketted. And


there are drifts along the country lanes and dry stone walls. These


peak District roads are some of the highest in England. After such a


mild autumn, this is the first snowfall of winter. And this couple,


near the village of Flash, were enjoying the picture-perfect scenes.


My girlfriend has come over from Thailand. Andrew main ambition,


apart from to be with me, was to cease no, so we came up when we


have the snow forecast on the local radio. It is the first time she has


seen the snow. It is beautiful. Very happy! This time last year


these were the scenes in the Moorlands. They were the heaviest


snowfalls for many years. This year, it's much less severe, but


nevertheless snowploughs are already out - and gritters will be


on the roads tonight. This is the second year that we have had to


have 2,000 tonnes of grit. Before, we only used to keep 15,000. Two


years ago we all got caught short, as a nation, and we did not intend


to again. We have the cold this winter in 100 years last year. We


have got 700 tonnes of grit coming in today, so we are replacing it,


as we use it, so we have always got reserve stock. This may be the


first coating of snow this year - but here in the Peak District,


they're braced for more icy weather to come. That broke his epic, from


leaked to Buxton, I tell you. -- that road is epic. Here's Shefali.


Last night's snow over Staffordshire isn't the only snow


of the week. We're looking at further snow, Thursday night into


Friday. So far as tonight those, we're not going to see too much


snow, but we have blustery showers to the north. Showers rattling in


from the West. That is where the majority of the concentration of


showers has been. Just a few of them could turn to snow, over the


Staffordshire merlons. We're looking at dusts of 50 mph, and


respect of that, temperatures could fall as low as Deal Celsius. That


will bring a Prost. You could be scraping the eyes of your


windscreens by tomorrow. We have a lovely sunny start tomorrow,


although it will be a windy day. Temperatures, coupler degrees


higher than today at around five- seven Celsius. Tomorrow night, a


warm front coming through. It is going to be milder, but we and


windy. A look at tonight's main headlines: There's been


unprecedented violence in Afghanistan - bomb attacks across


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