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Thursday, October 1, 1998 Published at 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK

Business: The Company File

Wilkinson Sword cuts jobs

Closure of Wilkinson's UK plant means 350 lay-offs

The razor blade manufacturer Wilkinson Sword is to cut 350 jobs at their factory in Cramlington in Northumberland.

The company defended its decision to close its only UK plant by June 2000 claiming a decline in demand for traditional double-edge razors.

Davey Hall, regional secretary of the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union, said: "This is a colossal blow to the workers and the community in Northumberland.

"It will have a massive knock-on effect on suppliers and will worsen unemployment in the region."

Phased redundancies

Wilkinson Sword said it planned to make the entire workforce at Cramlington redundant on a gradual basis.

Unions and management will now discuss a timetable for the closure.

The company said its shaving product manufacturing operations will have one plant in Europe, based in Germany, one in North America, one in Latin America and an operation in Asia.

They said the closure resulted from a "significant global excess" of razor blade capacity.

Dick Gibbons, director of manufacturing operations, said the announcement had been hard to make given the number of closures elsewhere in the region.

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