Unilever is standing firm on its plans to close three of its Dutch sites despite a nationwide strike hitting operations today (11 October).

Production at all of Unilever's manufacturing sites in the Netherlands has come to a halt after strikes started last night in protest at the company's working conditions and restructuring in the country.

Employees at Unilever's six plants went on strike last night and the stoppages have continued into today (11 October).

Unilever's Dutch employees decided to launch strike action after talks on new working and pay conditions collapsed two weeks ago.

However, following Unilever's announcement on Tuesday (9 October) that it plans to close three of the six plants in the Netherlands, employees also want guarantees that they will be offered help to find future employment.

The consumer goods giant, maker of brands including Knorr soup and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, said the closures of three of the six sites would go ahead as planned.

"The need for the restructuring is still there; we are not growing as fast as our competition," a Unilever spokesperson told just-food.

The spokesperson said Unilever wants to restart talks with its workers and the CNV union as soon as possible. However, she insisted that Unilever could not guarantee future employment at the company after the three sites at Delft, Loosdrecht and Vlaardingen are closed.

Affected workers would be offered help to find employment outside the company, the spokesperson added.