Nappy plant closure ‘devastating’ for Humber community

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MANUFACTURING suffered another major blow yesterday with the announcement of the closure of a nappy factory and the loss of nearly 380 jobs.

Kimberly-Clark’s Barton-upon-Humber factory, which employs 378 people, is to halt manufacturing by next March, after the firm announced it was stopping making and selling Huggies nappies in Europe, apart from in Italy.

Staff were briefed yesterday morning and then given the day off.

Another 60 jobs are threatened at its Delyn Mill plant at Flint which makes disposable wet hand towels. The Texas-based consumer products giant also wants to sell factories in Spain, Italy and Poland, as going concerns.

In all, between 1,300 to 1,500 jobs are set to go. According to the company’s latest quarterly results, European sales for Kimberly-Clark Professional fell 17 per cent.

Mill manager Graham Tongue said the firm’s European nappy business had not been profitable since they entered the market 20 years ago and it had been a strategic decision to focus on stronger brands including Andrex and Kleenex.

Company vice-president Dave Faddis added: “My priority is to ensure that employees are treated respectfully and fairly during this stressful time.

“These are tough choices, but they are necessary to improve our competitive position and make Kimberly-Clark’s consumer business stronger in Europe.”

North Lincolnshire Council leader Liz Redfern said every effort would be made to help people find jobs, including offering funding to start-up businesses through the regional growth fund and UK steel enterprise kick start loans.

She said: “This is devastating news for employees and families of Kimberly Clark and it goes without saying we will do all we can to assist them, as the job losses will be a real blow.”