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Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
60% taking clay firm redundancies
China clay pit
Imerys is the largest employer in Cornwall with about 2,000 workers
More than 360 people have accepted voluntary redundancy as part of the restructuring of a china clay firm.

Imerys is cutting more than 600 jobs in Devon and Cornwall because it is moving its paper coating operations to Brazil where costs are lower.

Ashley Shopland, operations director for Imerys, said he was pleased that so many of the job losses had been achieved voluntarily.

Unions are threatening to take industrial action over pay-off terms.

'Positive' development

The Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) claims payments for long-serving staff will average about 13,000, but Imerys insists the figure could be nearer 18,000.

Mr Shopland said: "It is clearly a very positive and welcome development in what is a very difficult process.

"We've been able to mitigate the number of job losses to just over 600 and now it looks, for at least 60% of those, it's going to be achieved by voluntary means."

Imerys is to close one of its seven china clay pits in the St Austell area.

One refinery and two drying units will also be closed in Cornwall; and a pit at Lee Moor - north of Plymouth in Devon - will also close, along with its refinery and drying unit.

China clay, or kaolin, has a variety of uses, but is mainly employed to whiten and give a glossy coating to paper.

Strike threat on china clay cuts
29 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Industry behind Cornish moonscape
29 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
China clay job cuts talks resume
12 Sep 06 |  Cornwall
Reduction in china clay job cuts
14 Aug 06 |  Cornwall
China clay pit closure announced
28 Jul 06 |  Cornwall

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