Reaction to proposed closure of Kimberly-Clark plant in Barton
International giant Kimberly-Clark has announced the proposed closure of its Barton manufacturing plant.
The Scunthorpe Telegraph understands staff, who it is thought number around 480, were briefed this morning.
The South Humber bank facility, opened 20 years ago, is a major driver of the economy in Barton and surrounding area, pulling staff from across northern Lincolnshire and the north bank of the Humber.
Kimberly-Clark said it was making strategic changes in Europe to focus its resources and investments on the company’s strongest products and markets, in order to deliver better returns in the future.
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Despite considerable efforts, time and investment, Kimberly-Clark has not been able to build a sustainable, profitable nappies business in Europe.
Therefore, the company plans to stop manufacturing and selling nappies in Europe, with the exception of Italy.
As a result, the company says it has taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of the Barton mill, which manufactures nappies for the UK market.
The company says it will work proactively with employees and local employee representatives during this difficult time and ensure the appropriate consultation processes are followed.
It is expected that the majority of actions associated with this proposal will be completed by the end of 2013.
Dave Faddis, Vice President of Supply Chain, Kimberly-Clark Consumer Europe, said: “No decision such as this is ever taken lightly and it is with regret that we have to propose the closure of Barton as part of changes to our European business.
"My priority is to ensure that employees are treated respectfully and fairly during this stressful time.
"These are tough choices, but they are necessary to improve our competitive position and make Kimberly-Clark’s consumer business stronger in Europe.”
The proposed closure of the Kimberly-Clark plant shocked people in the town today.
Barton Town Mayor Councillor Paul Vickers said: "It is devastating news. Our thoughts are with the workers. We have to do all we can to make sure the workforce can find other employment.
"We want to keep them working in local areas, it is important to have a skilled workforce. With the Humber Bridge tolls coming down we hope we can continue to encourage businesses into the area.
"This does not just affect Barton but the wider Humber area, too.
"Workers come from Scunthorpe, Grimsby, as well as locally."
Vicky Vickers, from Barton Chamber of Trade and Industry, said: "It is a very sad day for everyone. Kimberly Clark have always been big supporters of the Barton Chamber of Trade. It is a body blow to Barton and the area.
"They are superb premises so hopefully someone will take them over. You just have to feel sorry for those staff."
This video shows Mr Faddis addressing the press.