Pharmacy factory7 jobs plea to ministers; Call for immediate action.
Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell secured a debate in the House of Commons in a bid to force the Department for Business to set out what help can be offered to hundreds of workers and their families set to lose out in redundancy moves.
The debate comes after news of plans to close the Sanofi pharmaceutical manufacturing centre in Fawdon, with the loss of over 450 jobs.
Work is already under way to establish a task force comprising of Unite, local councillors and MPs, to try and retain skills in Tyneside. Speaking in last night's late debate Ms McKinnell told MPs in the Commons that the Government had to recognise it was time to throw its weight behind the task force "without delay" as it did after the news of Pfizer's threatened closure.
Ministers were told they must do "all they can to broker a deal to ensure Sanofi stays in Newcastle and that pharmaceutical companies do not dis-invest from Britain". Ms McKinnell added: "Otherwise, in Newcastle, the skills built up over generations will go to waste and the machinery so expensively installed will be scrapped or taken abroad.
"There is a long and outstanding tradition of manufacturing and production in the North East and a population who are ready, willing and committed to working. The Government must assist in meeting the challenges faced by Sanofi Fawdon Manufacturing Centre in the same way that it did for Pfizer."
Jobs set go at Sanofi add to the 38,500 manufacturing jobs already lost in the North East over the last five years. The factory has been part of Newcastle's manufacturing base for many years, producing household names such as Milk of Magnesia and Panadol.
A Department for Business spokeswoman said: "We were extremely disappointed to learn of the planned closure of Sanofi's Fawdon site. The company has been clear that this was a commercial decision and was not based on a judgement of the UK as a location for life sciences investment.
"We have been in contact with Sanofi, Newcastle City Council and the North Eastern Local Enterprise Partnership and will discuss with them any possible local response and support."
UNDER THREAT Staff at Sanofi