Kimberly-Clark closure: Workers left 'heartbroken' by decision to shut Barton facility
THE unexpected announcement that Kimberly-Clark is to close its south bank plant has been greeted with shock.
Opened in 1992, the site was named as one of the best 100 Employers in Britain by The Sunday Times ten years ago.
A further £30 million was also invested a decade ago with the creation of a non-woven materials operation, but it has not been making a profit.
A machine operator from Grimsby, who did not wish to be named, said: "The rumours have been going around for a few months.
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"We thought they were going to shut one of the nappy factories in Europe, but it turns out they're going to shut all but one.
"They said they've never made a profit in the 20 years they've been here. I think they are losing market share and as people are tightening their belts they are going for the cheaper brands instead of Huggies – although we do make some of the cheaper brands as well.
"I have been here for 18 years and it's been a really nice place to work. But we've got orders to fulfil and we are going to be here until March.
"It's not going to affect me too much as they are putting together a decent redundancy package, but for the younger people it must be a worry."
A machine operator from Barton, who has worked at the factory for 16 years, said she was "absolutely heartbroken" by the news.
"When I got to work I realised it was serious. You could see from the look on everyone's faces that they were all heartbroken. The staff are all totally devastated. It's just a horrible feeling.
"It is the best place I have ever worked. It is like having an extended family. Everyone is treated the same – there is no them-and-us atmosphere.
"It's going to be a really sad loss for Barton."
Dave Faddis, vice-president of supply chain at Kimberly-Clark Consumer Europe, said: "It is with regret that we have to propose the closure of Barton. My priority is to ensure that employees are treated respectfully and fairly.
"These are tough choices, but they are necessary to improve our competitive position.
"The decisions which involve our employees are the most difficult ones to take.
"There is nothing the staff could have done that would have altered this decision, they have performed marvelously, they have made tremendous progress in manufacturing processes. This workforce has always responded to the challenges and request made of them.
"The reason this has been made is because of our performance in the market place not meeting our expectations."