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Unilever proposes 500 job cuts in UK with hair care factories hit hard

By Andrew McDougall , 15-Jun-2012
Last updated on 15-Jun-2012 at 12:28 GMT

The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant has announced plans to cut up to 500 jobs in Britain as well as outsourcing certain posts to India as part of its latest restructuring programme.

As part of the cuts, 250 jobs will be lost at the Alberto Culver hair care factories based in Wales.

Devastating blow

The hair car brand will see 225 jobs lost due to the closure of the factory in Swansea, whilst an additional 25 jobs will be cut at the distribution site in Bridgend.

The announcement comes as a huge blow to the region, and shadow Welsh secretary Owen Smith told the BBC he had spoken to Unilever and urged the company to consider all the options during the review.

"This is obviously grave news for Wales and for Swansea in particular," he said.

The Dove skin care maker has a total UK workforce of around 7,200 and says that the proposed changes could take effect by the end of 2013 and would be made up of 500 direct job losses and around 300 contractor and third party jobs.

"In total, the proposed changes could result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK. There would also be potentially the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles," said Unilever in a statement.

Not all doom and gloom

The company has taken strides to dispel the doom and gloom completely, announcing it will also invest £40 million (€49 million) in its largest factory in Northwest England as well as creating around 150 jobs with this investment.

The company statement also states the investment would also result in "a number of other roles moving to Unilever's IT centre in Bangalore, India."

Eurozone effect

"Like many companies today, Unilever faces the challenge of creating growth opportunities against a backdrop of very tough economic conditions in Europe," said Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever's Britain and Ireland operations.

"While Unilever is growing well in the UK and globally, it will always be necessary to make changes which raise our game and ensure our continued success.”

Unilever has operations in more than 100 countries, employing over 171,000 workers.

"We believe these proposals would substantially strengthen our platform for long-term growth and competitiveness," added Sourry in the group statement.

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