An under-threat South Tyneside factory will close its doors for the final time in a matter of months, bosses have confirmed.
Essentra, a global filter product provider for the tobacco industry, entered into a 45-day consultation period over plans to shut its site on Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, in July.
Now the firm has revealed that it is to press ahead with the proposals after the negotiation period drew to a close.
The majority of the firms’ 220 workers will be redundant – with manufacturing and production work being moved to Hungary.
About a third of the workforce left their posts on Saturday at the end of the consultation process with union representatives.
Essentra has plans to create ten roles as an alternative to redundancy at the company’s smokeless nicotine device and analytical testing site – as well as the learning centre – in Shaftesbury Avenue, Jarrow, which will be unaffected by the closure.
The business, which has been a major South Tyneside employer since the 1940s, says the move came on the heels of a review of its global business practices.
Management say a decline in cigarette sales in Western Europe has led to many of its suppliers moving to Central and Eastern Europe – with Essentra now rubber-stamping its bid to follow suit.
An Essentra spokesman said: “Now that the consultation period has ended and the proposal has been confirmed, we will transition activities to Hungary from Jarrow over the next few months, with a view to the Bedesway site closing by the end of 2015.”
The GMB union, which represents many of the workers affected by the closure, is working with workers on financial settlements and to support their efforts to find alternative employment in the weeks and months ahead.
Keir Howe, regional organiser for the union, said: “It is a very sad day for the Jarrow site and all of its employees. The factory has been here since 1948.
“We are doing everything we can to support all of the workers going forward.”
Hugh Ross, managing director of Essentra Europe, said: “Over the past ten years, cigarette sales volume in Western Europe have declined by almost 30%, with the tobacco companies supplied by Essentra responding to this trend by relocating their own manufacturing footprint to Central and Eastern Europe.
“Indeed, only a tiny percentage of the current filter production at our Jarrow facility is destined for the domestic UK market.”