A COUNCILLOR fears the impending closure of a South Tyneside factory – with the loss of 220 jobs – would be a ‘disaster’ for the community.
Coun Margaret Peacock, who represents the Bede ward of South Tyneside Council, is hoping to work with Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn and fellow councillor Fay Cunningham to, at least, buy staff more time before the Essentra factory, on Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, closes for the final time.
Bosses at the firm, a filter product provider for the tobacco industry, started a 45-day consultation period last Wednesday over plans to close the site and shift manufacturing, production development and innovation activities to a facility in Hungary.
The company cited a slump in cigarette sales in mainland Europe and the switch of many of its customers to eastern and central locations in the continent as reasons for the move.
Labour councillor Mrs Peacock, 59, worked at the factory under its previous name of Cigarette Components, from 1973 to 1978.
Coun Peacock said: “It is really bad for Low Simonside. Generation after generation have worked there. I worked on the shop floor from 1973 to 1978. Its closure is a disaster for the area.
“It was more like a family business than an international one.
“We want to speak to the company and see what can be done.”