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Unilever Ewloe closure plans would see 200 jobs axed

A EWLOE IT centre could close – with the loss of 200 jobs.

Proposals announced today (Thursday) by consumer goods giant Unilever would see £40m pumped into its headquarters at Port Sunlight, Wirral, with the creation of 150 new roles.

But its centres in Swansea, Bridgend and Slough would shut down, along with the IT centre at St David’s Park.

The Chronicle understands about 400 of the 600 roles in Ewloe would move to Port Sunlight and 100 would be outsourced to Bangalore, India, with the remaining 100 or so being axed.

Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant and MP Mark Tami were quick to condemn the proposals.

“I am deeply saddened to hear the news from Unilever,” said Mr Sargeant.

“I will continue to push the case for the site at St David’s Park.”

Mr Tami said: “This would be a big blow to the area, with the loss of highly skilled and high-value jobs.

“While I understand a number of people would be offered redeployment to Port Sunlight, I am concerned that the company is offshoring part of the work to India.”

Mr Sargeant said the company intends to offer relocation and redundancy packages to affected staff should the plans become a reality.

Unilever spokesman Paul Matthews said one of the key reasons for the proposed changes was the company’s focus on ‘continuously improving how it is organised to fuel growth, including making the most of its global scale through the creation of fewer, bigger, better hubs for manufacturing and business services’.

In total, the proposed changes could result in a net reduction of about 500 Unilever roles in the UK, as well as about 300 associated contractor and third-party roles.

The feasibility of the proposals will be reviewed over the next three months.

Amanda Sourry, chairwoman of Unilever UK and Ireland, said: “We understand that this period of uncertainty will cause concern for some of our employees who would be affected if changes were to be made, so we are fully committed to conducting all review and consultation processes properly and responsibly in order to provide clarity and certainty as soon as possible.”

Late last year workers at Ewloe joined the first series of nationwide strikes in Unilever’s 81-year history in a bitter row over an ‘unacceptable attack’ on their pensions.

The multinational company makes a wide range of consumer products, including household brands such as Marmite, PG Tips, Pot Noodle and Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

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