The future of around 380 jobs in Barrow-in-Furness has been thrown into doubt after the owner of Andrex toilet tissue and Huggies nappies unveiled a swingeing cost-cutting drive.
Kimberly-Clark plans to slash between 5,000 and 5,500 roles from its 43,000-strong global workforce, the equivalent of 12% to 13% of total staff.
The Texas-based personal care giant has three UK manufacturing sites in Barrow-in-Furness, Flint and Northfleet, as well as offices in Reigate, West Malling and Brighton.
The Barrow site employs 380 people, the majority of whom are directly involved in running the production process, although we have production planners, Finance, HR and IT roles on site as well. We pride ourselves on putting safety first and have won awards for our safety record.
The move will hit "all of the company's business segments and organisations in each major geography", with 10 manufacturing plants earmarked for sale or closure.
The group is eyeing annual cost savings of 500 million US dollars (£357 million) to 550 million US dollars (£393 million) by 2021.
Chairman and chief executive Thomas Falk said the restructuring plan will put the group on track to reach its long-term growth targets.
Kimberly-Clark, which also owns household names such as Pull-Ups and Kleenex, is attempting to revive flagging sales in the face of slowing demand and higher input costs.
The near 150-year-old business made the cost-savings announcement alongside its annual results, with operating profits slipping by 1% to 3.29 billion US dollars (£2.35 billion) for the 12 months to December 31.
Mr Falk added:
The group has a cost savings target of more than 1.5 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) between 2018 and 2021.