Imperial Tobacco has used increased EU regulations as ‘a cynical ploy’ to close its factory in Nottingham, with the loss of 540 jobs, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 15 April).
Unite said that Imperial Tobacco had used increased EU regulations as a ‘cover’ to shut the plant and also its site in the French city of Nantes.
The recent EU Tobacco Products Directive will stop the sale of packs of 10 cigarettes and ‘roll your own packs’ below 30 grams. As a result of this legislation, Unite was expecting the closure of some manufacture lines and a knock on effect on a small number of jobs.
Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “This is shocking news that will have a devastating impact on not only hundreds of workers, their families, but also on the local community.
“We will be giving full support to our members over the next two years before the site closes at the latest in March 2016.
“What we were not expecting was the wholesale closure of the Nottingham site and an end to Imperial Tobacco manufacturing cigarettes in the UK and moving production to eastern Europe.
“We believe that Imperial Tobacco is cynically using the EU directive as cover to dump on UK workers and ship production to low cost workers in eastern Europe.
“The company has callously decided to dump its UK workers and the only people who will be benefiting from this move are the shareholders and executive directors who will trouser even more money from this cost-cutting exercise once the dust has settled.
“It’s another nail in the coffin for UK manufacturing and a loss of revenue for the exchequer. Well paid skilled jobs for ordinary working people are once again under threat.
“In another example of social dumping, Imperial Tobacco has also announced the closure of its manufacturing site in Nantes and Unite is already in touch with our sister French unions.
“Social dumping is increasingly being used by greedy corporations, as bosses look to increase profits while sacking people and shipping jobs to low wage countries.
“We will fight this closure and will be urgently seeking meetings with the company.”
Imperial Tobacco is a successful and wealthy UK based company with its headquarters in Bristol. Current turnover is £28.3 billion (in the year to 30 September 2013) and operating profit is up 29 per cent to £1.958 billion (in the year to 30 September 2013) Executive directors pay is also up by 21.7 per cent to over £2 million a year.
Imperial Tobacco at the Nottingham site currently produces Lambert and Butler, Richmond, Embassy No 1, Regal, JPS, Superkings, Golden Virginia and Golden Leaf.
Consumers need to know that a major UK company is selling out its UK workers, so that its leading UK brands can be made in eastern Europe and then shipped back.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.