Hundreds of jobs to go at Unilever

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Hundreds of jobs are set to be lost at consumer goods giant Unilever under plans to close a number of sites, although its biggest factory will receive a £40m investment boost.

Proposals would see the closure of factories in Swansea and Slough and a distribution site in Bridgend, while an office at Ewloe, North Wales, would also close and work be transferred.

The changes, to take effect by the end of 2013, could lead to 500 direct job losses and around 300 contractor and third-party posts, while some jobs will also be outsourced to Unilever’s IT centre in Bangalore, India.

The news was described as a “devastating blow” to workers affected by the closures.

Unilever said it planned to invest £40m in its “historic home” of Port Sunlight, Wirral on Merseyside, with the creation of 150 new jobs.

Work would transfer from Ewloe to Port Sunlight, where the workforce would increase from the current 1,500 to 2,000.

The company said its plans would “transform” Port Sunlight into a “significant centre of excellence” for the manufacture of shampoo and shower gel products, with growth potential for the next decade.

Around 225 jobs will be lost through the closure of the Swansea factory, which makes personal care products, around 250 at Slough, Berks which makes products including Radox, and 25 at the distribution site in Bridgend.