Foods and detergent giant Unilever has announced closure of sites across Wales and west of England, with the loss of up to 800 jobs

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The foods and detergent giant Unilever has announced it intends to close a number of sites with the loss of up to 800 jobs.

In what company executives admit will be ‘devastating’ news for the workforce, it intends to close factories in Swansea and Slough, a distribution site in Bridgend and an office in Ewloe in North Wales by the end of 2013.

A number of jobs will also be outsourced to Unilever’s IT centre in India.

The annoucement comes after the company settled a long-running dispute with unions over the closure of its final salary staff pension (pictured).

The proposals include investment of £40 million in Unilever’s “historic home” at Port Sunlight in the Wirral, with the creation of 150 new jobs.

Unilever produces household name brands such as Marmite, PG Tips and Pot Noodle, as well as Persil and Comfort.

Unite, which has members at several of the plants involved says it is ‘assessing’ the possible impact of the talks and intends to hold detailed talks with management before the end of the month.

The company blames ‘very tough economic conditions in Europe’ for the job cuts.

Unite’s national officer for food and drink, Jennie Formby (pictured above, centre) said: “Unilever’s announcement is a long and complex one and we will be assessing the long-term impact for our members over the next few days.

“We have a meeting with senior management later this month and our prime concern is to ensure that there are no compulsory redundancies in the areas where we are represented.”

The company says reviews of the proposals are expected to be concluded in the autumn, with a final decision taken in September.

Says Jennie Formby: The investment in the Port Sunlight plant is to be welcomed, but we need to study the statement and meet with management to see what it may mean in terms of increased employment opportunities in the future.”


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