Mondelez International has entered into talks with staff and representatives over the potential loss of 40 jobs at its biscuits plant in Herentals in Belgium.

The manufacturing facility, located in Flanders, employs around 1,500 staff and produces Lu biscuits.

A spokesperson for Mondelez in Belgium told just-food today (21 June) management of the facility were “considering measures to improve the competitive standing of the plant”. The job cuts will affect a maximum of 40 white collar workers, the spokesperson said, which may be eliminated over the coming 12 months.

The spokesperson added: “We are looking at all possibilities to limit the impact on our employees, including not replacing workers going into early retirement and also offering relocation options.”

It is understood Mondelez had previously announced the need to save EUR5.5m (US$7.3m) to increase the competitiveness of the company in the Belgian market.

The spokesperson said the company was in negotiations with its employees and social partners.

“The management is seeking to make changes that are necessary to ensure a sustainable, long-term future for the plant. While no detailed plans are yet established, management has committed not to make any redundancies among plant workers between now and 2015,” the spokesperson said. “There are no concrete or detailed plans established yet and those negotiations continue.”

News of the proposed cuts come as Mondelez looks at closing sites in Europe. Last month, Mondelez announced plans to close more facilities in Europe to pay for expansion in emerging markets.

The global snacks group, which is shutting sites in Austria and Spain, said it would close more in Europe as part of plans to boost margins, which it says will fund its growth in faster-growing markets. The company refused to be drawn on which sites could close, although chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld said it was in talks with unions.