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Imperial Tobacco planning big job cuts across Europe; FACTORY CLOSURES.

Imperial Tobacco yesterday announced plans to close its Bristol cigar factory and cut 285 jobs from its UK business.

The company, which has made tobacco products in Bristol since 1901, will transfer cigar production to Spain with the loss of 75 jobs. Its Nottingham plant, which produces cigarettes for the UK and Irish markets, will be restructured with the loss of 210 jobs.

Across Europe it is cutting 2,440 jobs as part of a restructuring following the pounds 10 billion acquisition of Altadis, the Franco-Spanish tobacco company.

The overhaul, which will be implemented over the next three years, will result in the closure of six factories within its portfolio of 58 sites.

Most of the job cuts will come in France, where Imperial will lose around 1,060 staff - nearly a quarter of its workforce of 4,700. Its factories in Metz and Strasbourg are to be closed.

In Spain, 830 jobs will be lost out of the 6,700 employees.

Imperial, which employs 40,000 staff, is consulting unions and work councils on the plans, but added it would look to offset the job cuts through internal redeployment, early retirement and voluntary redundancy.

French and Spanish unions have already voiced strong opposition. A French union leader said that its members were not going "to go down without a fight".

Imperial chief executive Gareth Davis said: "We will ensure that the consultation process is conducted in a transparent and considerate manner."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 20, 2008
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