Baby wipes staff in Flint in the dark over job cuts

Reporter:

David Humphreys

A personal care product company is yet to specify the impact of potential job losses.

Kimberly Clark, which produces baby wipes and bathroom tissue at its Aber Road, Flint site, said it would not release further details on proposed staff reductions “until final decisions are made”.

The American company announced on Tuesday that as part of efforts to streamline the business, up to 10 manufacturing plants would be closed or sold.

As a result, up to 5,500 jobs could be lost, accounting for around 12 to 13 per cent of current personnel.

Around 200 staff are employed at the company’s dual mill site in Flint.

The mill is part of the company’s consumer business and is the home of Huggies baby wipes.

Constructed in 1982, the plant was originally a producer of feminine hygiene products.

In 2003, it benefited from an investment of £40 million for the manufacture of baby wipes and in 2015 a further £28m was invested to convert capabilities for wet wipes.

The company’s Coleshill mill, on the same site, was constructed in 1991 and officially opened by the Queen.

Folded and rolled bathroom tissue and wiper products for professional customers are made on site.

A Kimberly Clark spokesman said: “The company is not providing specifics on the status of any of our production facilities or the proposed job reductions, beyond what is detailed in our press release, until final decisions are made and announced.

“The timing of those announcements will be determined by the needs of the business and appropriate consultation and/or negotiations with unions, works councils and other labour stakeholders.”

David Hanson, Labour MP for Delyn, said the announcement of a potential shake-up was “of concern” but said he had received no specifics over the impact on Flint.

He said: “I hope the quality and commitment of the workforce as well as the products made in Flint continue to have the support of the company in the UK market.”

In its statement, Kimberly Clark said its savings programme “is expected to broadly impact all of the company’s business segments and organisations in each major geography.”

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru North Wales AM, said: “This is very concerning news for all those working at Flint. The Welsh Government must now step up to the plate and do everything possible to protect these jobs.

“I will be requesting an urgent meeting with the company and tabling an emergency question in the Assembly.

“All involved must come together and leave no stone unturned to protect these jobs.”

Hannah Blythyn, Labour AM for Delyn, said: “This news will create uncertainty and worry for all working at Kimberly Clark. My priority is the workforce in Flint and I will be working with the trade union and Welsh Government to seek clarity with regards to the announcement from the company as a matter of urgency.”

Email:

david.humphreys@nwn.co.uk

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