Strike threat at closure-set cigarette factory

Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate
Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate

A Union boss says workers may take strike action over plans to close a South Tyneside factory – with the possible loss of 220 jobs.

 Essentra, a global cigarette filter supplier for the tobacco industry, announced proposals to shut down its site on Bede Industrial Estate in Jarrow earlier this month.

Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate

Essentra, Bede Industrial Estate

 The move is subject to an ongoing 45-day consultation period but, if confirmed, would see production and manufacturing work shifted to Hungary.

 The Unite union, which represents about 40 workers at the firm, says it will leave ‘no stone unturned’ in a bid to save jobs under threat.

 Unite regional officer Mark Sanderson said: “The workers at the site are shattered by the news at the proposal to close its profitable site in Jarrow. Jarrow is one of the worst places in the region when it comes to joblessness. Suitable jobs are few and far between.

 “The Essentra employees are dedicated, loyal and highly-skilled, and the quality of the product is second to none.

 “They have set the benchmark globally for excellence in the industry, yet now this proposal is very much on the cards, which has come as a body blow for the local community.

 “The company has been in Jarrow since 1948 and the workers were told that they could be out of work by the autumn, with full closure by December.

 “Unite remains committed to saving as many jobs as possible and enhancing to the maximum the redundancy packages for our members that may be made redundant – we will leave no stone unturned, including the prospect of industrial action, to achieve these goals.”

 Essentra said that a decline in cigarette sales in western