Nearly a third of the workforce of a South Tyneside factory earmarked for closure were set to clock off for the final time today – as the end of an industrial era draws near.
Global cigarette filter supplier Essentra last month announced plans to shut down its site on Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, by the end of the year – with manufacturing and production being shifted to Hungary.
It is a very sad day for the Jarrow site.Keir Howe
Scores of workers will officially leave their jobs today – which marks the end of a 45-day consultation process into the proposals – as part of a staggered site closure.
A total of 220 workers are to be made redundant when the factory closes its doors for the final time.
Keir Howe,Northern Regional organiser for the GMB union, which represents many of the workers, says it is a ‘very sad day’ for the Jarrow site.
Union representatives had initially been told 99 workers would lose their jobs today, but it is understood that number will be reduced as some staff will have their stay extended to complete ongoing work at the factory.
Mrs Howe 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.
“There are no signs to show that the site will be saved. There are 220 jobs at risk and nearly third are leaving at the end of the consultation period today.”
Essentra says a decline in cigarette sales in Western Europe has led to many of its suppliers moving to Central and Eastern Europe – with the firm now set to follow suit.