Way sought to prevent labor-market turmoil when Dutch factory closes

| April 15, 2014

Dutch trade unions have appealed to Philip Morris Holland (PMH) to protect the 1,230 people employed at the company’s cigarette factory at Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, which is due to close by October, according to an ANP story.

The personnel should continue to be paid until finding a new job, Arend van Wijngaarden, chairman of trade union CNV Vakmensen, was quoted as saying.

That way, the redundant employees would not immediately be eligible for unemployment benefits.

The mayor of Bergen op Zoom, meanwhile, plans to meet PMH’s parent company, Philip Morris International, to try to convince it to implement the job cuts in stages.

Implementing the cuts in a staggered way would help prevent turmoil on the local labor market, the story said.

PMI cited falling sales as a reason for the closure. “Over the past four years, total tax-paid industry volume in the European Union declined sharply as a result of persistent macroeconomic weakness, consumer downtrading to cheaper alternative products such as fine cut, societal trends and the growing prevalence of illicit trade,” according to a note posted on the company’s website. “In this context, PMI experienced cigarette sales volume decline of approximately 20 percent. Furthermore, exports from EU factories also decreased during the period. Even if legal cigarette industry volume rates of decline in the EU moderate to historical levels, volume recovery is highly unlikely.”

The PMI note said that, under the terms of its proposal, PMH would stop the production of cigarettes at Bergen op Zoom, while its expanded tobacco plants and its Flavor Processing Center, which employ about 140 people, would continue to operate.

The announcement of the proposed closure at Bergen op Zoom followed hard on the heels of Philip Morris Limited’s decision to stop cigarette manufacturing in Australia by the end of this year with the loss of about 180 jobs at its factory at Moorabbin, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

Category: Breaking News

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