Unilever and Royal Mail slash 2,200 jobs to beat inflation squeeze

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The 1,500 redundancies at Marmite makers Unilever will see 15 percent and five percent of its senior and junior managers respectively lose their jobs. Workers on the consumer goods giant’s factory floors are not expected to be affected.

The job losses are part of a wider restructuring which will see Unilever, which employs more than 6,000 people in the UK and Ireland, organise itself into five divisions ‑ beauty and wellbeing, personal care, home care, nutrition and ice cream.

Chief executive Alan Jope said the changes will make the company more efficient. He added: “Growth remains our top priority and these changes will underpin our pursuit of this.”

The cuts at the multinational, which owns a diverse range of household brands such as PG Tips, Vaseline, Ben & Jerry’s and Domestos, come after its failed £50billion attempt to buy the consumer healthcare business of drugs giant GSK.

The proposed deal was attacked by its own investors as a costly distraction when it is dealing with rising inflation.

Royal Mail, meanwhile, is cutting 700 managers as part of a reorganisation it expects will save around £40million a year.

Demand for parcels boomed with the surge in online shopping during the pandemic, but that growth is now easing and inflation is pushing up costs.

Chairman Keith Williams said: “The delivery of our transformation and modernisation plans remain incredibly important in light of the fast-paced change we are seeing and the ongoing inflationary pressures.”

The move comes as Royal Mail faces heavy criticism over postal delays. The company has been struggling to cope with Covid-related staff absences.

It is consulting with unions on the changes, which it says will give flexibility to frontline managers, making them more accountable.

But the unions are threatening strike action. The cuts come just months after Royal Mail announced plans to hand over £400million to shareholders.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “We will be giving maximum support to members in fighting these unjust job cuts.

“This includes the possibility of an industrial action ballot. Now is the time for the executives to reconsider.”

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