Staff at a Thetford-based cleaning products company Jeyes have been told 85 local jobs could go as it ceases manufacturing private label products.

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Jeyes management told staff at both the manufacturing facility in Thetford and its head office in Cambridge that the company was undergoing a strategic change of direction with the loss of management and clerical positions.

Elsewhere, consultations are under way at other manufacturing facilities with the company considering axing a night shift at East Kilbride, near Glasgow with the loss of 35 jobs. Earlier this year, the company announced a review of the long-term future of the factory at Mold, north Wales, which could see the loss of 155 jobs.

Nicholas Goodwin, chief financial officer at Jeyes, which employs 350 people in the Eastern region and 1,650 worldwide, said: “The announcement follows a full review of our operations, which has led us to change the strategic direction of Jeyes to focus on growing our well-recognised UK consumer brands (Parozone, Bloo, Jeyes Fluid and Easy). Supported by innovation and more in-market consumer and trade support, the strategy will deliver a more profitable and cash generative business going forward.”

Staff were told that the company is proposing stopping the manufacture of some loss-making private labels.

Mr Goodwin said that there was reduced demand for the products, despite strenuous efforts over the last two years to improve the situation.

The company disposed of its insect control business in January and Mr Goodwin said it would also dispose of its “non-core, profitable businesses” to ensure resources were focused on core UK consumer brands.

“Finally, we will streamline our supply chain, transferring some of the manufacturing operations to our UK supply chain partners and concentrating our reduced in-house manufacturing capability on our core brands.

“We are already consulting with our staff at Mold, East Kilbride and Kadan,” he added.

Mr Goodwin said: “Our business environment is undergoing considerable change and the full detail of how and when those circumstances may affect employees is not yet clear. Unfortunately, however, we do expect that these changes will inevitably involve significant reductions in the number of Jeyes employees across the whole business. As already noted, and subject to full consultation, we intend wherever possible to transfer employees/jobs to other parties in our UK supply chain.

“A full and proper consultation with our staff and with staff representatives will begin shortly and we will not reach a decision until this has concluded. We will inform our staff as soon as a conclusion has been reached.

“We understand the concern that this will undoubtedly cause amongst our hard-working and loyal staff and the local community. We, like many other businesses, are facing tough economic conditions and strong competition around the world, so we have to consider some difficult options to deliver better profitability and cash generation in the future.”

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