Should EU proposals for “minimum pack sizes and plain packaging for cigarettes” come to fruition on Dec. 10, JTI Gallaher would have to confirm more than 300 job losses overnight, according to a story in the Ballymena Times quoting Northern Ireland’s North Antrim MP, Ian Paisley.
Paisley made the claim when he and East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson met with the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on Monday to discuss the proposal to revise the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive.
The Northern Ireland MPs requested the meeting to express their serious concerns that the proposals would cause significant job losses, a boost to the illicit trade in tobacco products and, overall, a severe negative impact on the local economy.
“JTI Gallaher have a large factory in North Antrim, with almost 1,000 employees currently based on the site,” said Paisley.
“Should the proposals of minimum pack sizes and plain packaging come to fruition on Dec. 10, then the factory, based in Ballymena, would have to confirm over 300 job losses quite literally overnight.
“To put this in to context, 300 job losses in the town of Ballymena is the equivalent of almost 13,000 job losses in Birmingham.”
Meanwhile, MP Priti Patel raised concerns about the damaging effect the proposals would have on independent and small retailers, who, she said, were already operating on very thin profit margins.