Crunch talks over future of cigarette factory

Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate
Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate

Union leaders will hold a crunch meeting today with bosses at a South Tyneside factory earmarked for closure.

Management at Essentra, a global filter product provider for the tobacco industry, started a 45-day consultation period last Wednesday over plans to close the site on Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, with the loss of 220 jobs. If the closure proposal is confirmed, the factory, which opened in 1948, would shut for the final time before the end of the year.

We want the company to look at all alternatives, including keeping the factory open.

Chris Preston, regional organiser at the GMB union

Manufacturing and production would then be shifted to Hungary.

Representatives from the GMB and Unite unions are meeting with bosses today in a bid to persuade the firm to explore alternative options.

The GMB union has already stated its intention 
to propose ways for the factory, which is operating at a profit, to remain open.

Chris Preston, regional organiser for the GMB union, said: “GMB and the Unite union will be meeting with management.

“We want to look at all options and minimise the amount of job losses. We want the company to look at all alternatives, including keeping the factory open.

“Meetings are planned to be held every week during the consultation period.”

The company says a slump in cigarette sales in mainland Europe and the switch of many customers to eastern and central locations in the continent as reasons for the move.