Unite, the country’s largest union, has pledged ‘to leave no stone unturned’ in a bid save 220 jobs under threat at cigarette filter tip producer Essentra in Jarrow, South Tyneside.
Essentra’s management started a 45-day consultation earlier this month on its proposals to transfer the majority of its work from the Jarrow site to Hungary, resulting in 220 job losses by the end of the year.
Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson said today (Monday 20 July): “The workers at the site are shattered by the news of the proposal to close the profitable site in Jarrow.
“The North East has high levels of unemployment and has not experienced the benefits of the so-called recovery that London and the South East have enjoyed - Jarrow is one of the worst places in the region when it comes to joblessness. Suitable jobs are few and far between.
“The Essentra employees are dedicated, loyal and highly skilled, and the quality of the product is second to none. They have set the benchmark globally for excellence in the industry, yet now this proposal is very much on the cards which has come as a body blow for the local community.
“The company has been in Jarrow since 1948 and the workers were told that they could be out of work by the autumn, with full closure by December this year.
“Unite remains committed to saving as many jobs as possible and enhancing to the maximum the redundancy packages for our members that may be made redundant - we will leave no stone unturned, including the prospect of industrial action, to achieve these goals.”
Unite has about 40 members at the Bede industrial estate site.
Essentra said that a decline in cigarette sales in western Europe has led to many of its suppliers moving to central and eastern Europe.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.