Unilever has informed employees of its intention to proceed with its previously announced plans to reduce the number of Unilever roles in the UK.
In June, Unilever announced some proposed changes to its UK business to help maintain and sustain its current success and strengthen its platform for long term growth. The proposals included making a major £40m investment into a new manufacturing and IT hub at the company’s historic home, Port Sunlight, but also reducing the number of Unilever roles in the UK.
Employees have been informed of the company’s plans, subject to consultation with all affected employees.
Unilever says the investment will create around 150 new jobs at a new high-tech manufacturing facility for personal care products in the North West.
Brands brought into the Unilever portfolio as a result of the recent acquisitions of Sara Lee’s personal care business and Alberto Culver will be transferred to Port Sunlight.
Alongside this, an IT expertise centre will be established in Lever House to help the business respond more quickly to market developments and improve how it serves customers and consumers.
Together, the new facilities will complement the site’s existing strategic research & development centre and its three homecare manufacturing sites to create a multi-functional hub within the Unilever organisation, optimising its global scale.
A consequence of creating this hub is that the former Alberto Culver manufacturing site in Swansea and the former Sara Lee personal care factory in Slough will close by the end of 2013.
Unilever’s distribution centre in Bridgend, which services the Swansea factory, will close, and the company is announcing today that a third party facility in Deeside in North Wales will serve as the distribution centre for the new Port Sunlight factory. This will result in the creation of around 50 new jobs in Deeside.
Unilever’s existing IT centre at St David’s Park, Ewloe, will close during 2014 with around 400 high capability roles relocating to Port Sunlight. It is expected that a number of other roles will move to Unilever’s IT centre in Bangalore.
In total, Unilever says that it anticipates that these changes will result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK and the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles.
Amanda Sourry, Chairman – Unilever UK and Ireland, “Following an extensive review, we have decided to move forward with proposals outlined in June.
“The investment into Port Sunlight will play a significant role in helping to maintaining and sustain our current success and competitiveness both in the UK and on a global scale.
“We understand that many of our employees will be anxious at this time. That’s why we are today pledging a good package of support for employees who are adversely affected.
“We will consult fully on these measures, and are committed to conducting a sensitive and thorough consultation and helping our employees to understand their options for the future.”