Page last updated at 19:58 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Tea firm planning 263 jobs losses

Twinings tea
Twinings produces about 15 million tea bags in North Shields

More than 260 jobs are to go with the planned closure of a tea packaging factory on Tyneside.

Twinings produces about 15 million tea bags a year from its facility in North Shields, which employs 263 people.

But the company plans to close the plant in 2011 and switch production to an existing site in Hampshire.

A spokesman for the company, which is part of the Associated British Foods group, said the move was necessary to maintain its long-term profitability.

Consultation with staff and union officials is to begin soon, a company spokesman said.

Peter Willetts, head of manufacturing, added: "We understand that this announcement will come as a shock for our employees at North Shields who could not have done more for our business.

"This is a very difficult but necessary step which will allow Twinings to remain competitive in our markets worldwide and take full advantage of future growth opportunities.

"If the proposal is to go ahead every effort will be made to support North Shields employees including a retraining programme, outplacement support, opportunities for other roles within the ABF group, and enhanced redundancy packages."

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