Walkers to cut 380 jobs as it closes Peterlee factory

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

County Durham's Walkers factory is to close, putting 380 jobs at risk
County Durham's Walkers factory is to close, putting 380 jobs at risk
PepsiCo UK plans to close its Walkers crisp factory in Country Durham, putting 380 jobs at risk.

Crisps production at the Peterlee factory would be moved to other facilities in the UK, PepsiCo UK – Walkers owner – revealed on Wednesday (March 1). Moving the operations would boost manufacturing efficiency, it claimed.

PepsiCo UK Peterlee manufacturing director Tracey Foster said: “In order to improve the efficiency of our UK snacks manufacturing operations, we are proposing the closure of our factory at Peterlee. Crisps currently produced at the site would be manufactured at our other facilities in the UK.

“Peterlee has been an important site for our business but the changes we are proposing present significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK.”

‘Efficiency savings’

The manufacturer will now open consultations with staff and their representatives. PepsiCo UK insisted staff would receive full support in light of the job losses.

“We appreciate this is upsetting news for everyone at the Peterlee site,”​ Foster said. “It is a difficult proposal for us to put forward and we want to make clear that it in no way reflects the performance of our colleagues at Peterlee, who we are grateful to for their hard work and commitment.

“No decisions will be made without first consulting employees and their representatives. We would also like to reassure colleagues that we will be providing on-going support and assistance from this point onwards.”

380 face job losses

There are currently 355 staff working in production at the site, and a further 25 working in supply chain. All 380 face job losses at the end of the year, the GMB union claimed.

The union said it would challenge the decision to close the factory.

GMB regional organiser Michael Hunt said: “It’s terrible news for the employees. They have not given too much information but I have a further meeting with them on March 15 when I will drill down into the detail.

“They say production has been low at Peterlee, lower than at other UK sites, but I will be challenging that,​ obviously. This is terrible news for our members – the employees – and their families, and for the town of Peterlee.”

Member of Parliament for Easington Grahame Morris – the area’s local MP – took to Twitter to describe the planned job losses as a “bitter blow”​. See the tweet below.

Meanwhile, the Peterlee facility revealed 50 job cuts​ at the site in 2010.

Walkers Peterlee job losses – at a glance

  • 380 jobs at risk
  • PepsiCo UK revealed plans to close facility
  • Production would be moved elsewhere in the UK

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