Wrexham’s MP has demanded action to prevent future “predatory” overseas business takeovers after it was announced that hundreds of local workers would be losing their jobs.
Mr Lucas wants to prevent a repeat of the situation which has meant about 300 skilled roles at financial firm Refinitiv, based on Wrexham Industrial Estate, are now being transferred to Bangalore in India.
The business has been based in the town since 2012 and was previously known as Avox and Thomson Reuters.
However workers at the site were told last week that Refinitiv “intends to close its site in Wrexham” as part of a company restructure.
Refinitiv became a stand-alone part of the Thomson Reuters group in July before the US-owned Blackstone Group took a majority share of the company, a move which was followed just a few days later by the shock news of the Wrexham office closure.
Mr Lucas has since spoken in Parliament twice about ‘predatory’ business takeovers, calling for the UK Government to consider changing legislation to make it more difficult for overseas firms to acquire businesses in the UK. He has also written to business secretary Greg Clark about the matter, highlighting how the company’s Wrexham workforce has been treated.
However, Mr Lucas says he was unimpressed with the response he received from Mr Clark when he spoke at Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) questions in the Commons on Tuesday (October 16).
Mr Lucas said: “A business took over Thomson Reuters in Wrexham a few weeks ago and last Wednesday announced the redundancy of 300 skilled workers, who had spent the last 10 years building up the business. The jobs are being moved to India.
“In the context of Brexit, does the secretary of state agree with me that we need to have a reconsideration of the takeover laws that apply within the UK so that this kind of predatory behaviour can end?”
Mr Clark replied by saying: “If we want to prosper as a country we need to engage with the world. We need to attract investment from all over the world.”
Speaking outside the Chamber, Mr Lucas said it was a ‘dreadful’ answer which disregarded the plight of the 300 workers in Wrexham who had been left without jobs.
It has since been confirmed that there are plans by the Welsh Government and Wrexham County Borough Council to set up a task force to assist Refinitiv workers.
A spokesperson for Refinitiv said: “As Refinitiv stands up as a new, standalone organisation focused on financial markets, we want to ensure that we have the right people in the right places to drive results for our customers in a highly competitive environment.
“As a result we intend to close our site in Wrexham.
“We recognise the impact this would have on the Wrexham community and we are in close dialogue with our Wrexham-based colleagues and their representatives. We are committed to ensuring those affected are properly supported through this process.”