Posted on Tuesday 7 October 2014 by Ulster Business

Gallaher cigarette plant in ballymena to close

Northern Ireland’s oldest cigarette factory is to close with the loss of around 800 jobs as the Japanese parent company transfers production to eastern Europe.

The Gallaher plant in Ballymena makes Silk Cut cigarettes but Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which took over the business in 2007, has decided to shut the site as part of a restructure of its business.

“The challenging economic environment, excise tax pressure coupled with illegal trade has triggered industry volume contraction in a number of key European countries,” it said in a release. “This is compounded by the need to comply with legislation, including the revised EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2), which will significantly reduce the number of pack formats to be produced for various markets.”

It said it will probably transfer the production from the Ballymena plant to Poland and Romania and added that it’s also closing sites in Belgium and Germany.

“Consultation with employees' representatives and the European Works Council will be appropriately conducted. Support for affected employees will be discussed as part of the consultation process.”

The company said 1,100 full time employees will be affected across the European Union, 800 of which are thought to work at the Ballymena plant.

 This proposal would affect approximately 1,100 full-time jobs across the European Union. 

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