Unilever, owner of the brands PG Tips, Dove and Persil, is set to cut 500 jobs in the UK by the end of 2013.
Unilever is consolidating its assets after acquiring Sara Lee’s personal care business that included Radox and Sanex in 2010, and haircare group Alberto Culver in 2011.
By the end of 2013 the former Alberto Culver manufacturing and distribution sites in Swansea and Bridgend, and the former Sara Lee factory in Slough are set to close.
It is also relocating around 400 roles from its Ewloe IT site in Wales 15 miles to its global headquarters at Port Sunlight and Bangalore, India.
In total, the proposed changes could result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK. There would also be potentially the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles.
Unilever will spend £40m on its historic home at Port Sunlight as part of the firm’s strategy to make the most of its global scale through the creation of fewer, bigger, hubs for manufacturing and business services.
The company stated that Port Sunlight will become a hub of high-volume, high technology manufacturing of products from shampoo to shower gel. It added that the site would benefit from the creation of an IT centre at Port Sunlight, which it said would enable the business to use technology to respond more quickly to market developments and improve its service.
Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland, said that the feasibility of these proposals will be reviewed over the next three months. “Like many companies today, Unilever faces the challenge of creating growth opportunities against a backdrop of very tough economic conditions in Europe,” she said. “While Unilever is growing well in the UK and globally, it will always be necessary to make changes which raise our game and ensure our continued success.”
Reviews of the proposals are expected to be concluded in Autumn 2012.