Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Almost 400 Jobs at Risk as Factory Faces Closure; JOBS THREAT

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Almost 400 Jobs at Risk as Factory Faces Closure; JOBS THREAT

Article excerpt

Byline: coreena ford coreena.ford@ncjmedia.co.uk

ALMOST 400 jobs are in jeopardy at a crisp factory in County Durham after owners PepsiCo announced proposals to close the facility.

PepsiCo plans to close the Walkers Snacks operation in Peterlee, County Durham, moving work from the factory to other sites around the UK. The factory makes a number of popular Walkers' brands including Wotsits, Cheetos, Smiths Fries and Walkers Sensations.

News of the proposal has been broken to staff at two separate meetings and consultation is now due to start with the 380 people affected.

The firm said the move has been put forward to make savings deemed crucial to protect the long-term growth of its UK growth.

Tracey Foster, Peterlee manufacturing director at PepsiCo UK, said: "In order to improve the efficiency of our UK snacks manufacturing operations, we are proposing the closure of our factory at Peterlee.

"Crisps currently produced at the site would be manufactured at our other facilities in the UK.

"Peterlee has been an important site for our business but the changes we are proposing present significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK.

"We appreciate this is upsetting news for everyone at the Peterlee site. It is a difficult proposal for us to put forward and we want to make clear that it in no way reflects the performance of our colleagues at Peterlee, who we are grateful to for their hard work and commitment.

"No decisions will be made without first consulting employees and their representatives. We would also like to reassure colleagues that we will be providing ongoing support and assistance from this point onwards."

Workers were informed of the proposal at a 10am meeting at Ramside Hall Hotel, Durham.

There was no shift on duty on Wednesday and the car park at the plant was deserted, with normal production set to resume today.

The news comes just weeks after PepsiCo reported an 18% drop in fourth quarter net income to $1.4bn (PS1.1bn) from $1.7bn (PS1.4bn) during the same period in 2015. …

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