Unilever to cut fewer jobs at Knorr plant in Germany, union says

At the end of January, union officials said Unilever planned to close three lines at the facility.

Fiona Holland March 01 2024

Unilever is working to shed fewer jobs than originally planned at its factory in Auerbach in Germany, local union representatives have said.

According to a statement released today (1 March) by the Food, Beverages and Catering Union (NGG), the multinational has agreed to cut under 80 jobs at the site.

At the end of January, the NGG union said Unilever planned to close three lines at the facility, with “more than half of the current 175 jobs” at the site then set to go.

At the time, Unilever declined to comment directly on the prospect of job cuts. A spokesperson then said “strategic changes” the company planned to make at the Auerbach site would “secure the future of the factory in a highly dynamic market”.

The NGG said today Unilever had shown it was willing to work together with “the works council and the NGG on an alternative concept” to allow more workers to keep their jobs.

The Cornetto and Marmite brand owner declined to comment further on the news when approached by Just Food, noting it was “in confidential discussions with all parties involved”.

Responding to the news in a public statement, the NGG said “the effort was worth it, the protests of the past few weeks are having an effect” and the news offered “a glimmer of hope for the Knorr employees in Auerbach”.

Just Food has reached out to the NGG for additional comment.

Products under Unilever’s Knorr brand are manufactured at the Auerbach site. These goods include instant soups, sauces and pasta, bouillon pots and cubes and savoury seasonings.

Unilever said in January it did not expect production to take a hit following the changes, indicating the plant would be “continuing to produce items such as dry soups.”

Thomas Lißner, managing director of the Dresden-Chemnitz region for NGG, said at the time the union was looking to “build up massive pressure” to try to stop Unilever from shutting some of the production lines.

“We do not accept partial closures in instalments. The employees have been bending their backs for the company for decades and worked under maximum stress during corona times,” Lißner said.

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