1. ITV Report

More than 300 jobs to go with closure of Peterlee snacks factory

The Walkers factory in Peterlee is to close. Photo: ITV News

The owners of the Walkers snacks factory in Peterlee, County Durham, has confirmed that it will close, with a potential loss of 355 jobs.

The Peterlee factory, which employs 380 workers, manufactures Wotsits, Smiths Fries, Smiths Moments, Cheetos Twisted, Crinkles and Walkers Sensations.

In March this year the company's owner, US food giant Pepsico, said it was consulting with regards to plans to close the plant.

Today the company confirmed that this would happen by the end of 2017.

A well known brand of snacks is produced in Peterlee. Credit: PA

“Following a period of consultation with the Trade Union and other employee representatives, PepsiCo has decided to proceed with the proposal to close the manufacturing site at Peterlee by the end of December 2017. We appreciate that this is very difficult news for everyone at the Peterlee site. We would like to emphasise that this decision in no way reflects the performance of our colleagues at Peterlee and we remain very grateful for their hard work and commitment.

“Our priority now is supporting and providing assistance to our colleagues who are impacted by this decision as we move into the process of consulting with employees on an individual basis about what this means for them personally.

"Peterlee has been an important site for our business but the proposal presents significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK.”

– Tracey Foster, Peterlee Manufacturing Director, PepsiCo UK

Michael Hunt from the GMB Union has confirmed that there was a meeting at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield on Tuesday morning regarding the Peterlee factory.

All workers attended.

"I can confirm that a meeting took place this morning at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield at 10am, that all employees of the Walkers production site at Peterlee attended. I also attended in order to support our members with the help of our union workplace representatives.

"I am afraid to say that despite numerous representations and counter proposals, the company today announced that the intend to go ahead with the proposal to close the Peterlee site on the 31 December 2017, previously citing efficiency reasons for doing so during formal consultation with GMB.

"Of course this is devastating news for our members, their families and the local community as a whole. GMB will continue to advise and support our members moving forward and throughout the process."

– Michael Hunt, Regional Organiser, GMB