Nappy manufacturer Ontex plans to cut nearly 500 Flemish jobs

Nappy manufacturer Ontex plans to cut almost half of its jobs in Belgium. Specifically, 489 jobs in Eeklo and Buggenhout are under threat. Rising production costs in the country in particular are said to be affecting the company.

During special works councils, the management of nappy manufacturer Ontex announced it wants to restructure its production and distribution activities in Belgium. 349 jobs in Eeklo, where the company has a production plant, are under threat as Ontex plans to transfer the production of care products for women and babies to other plants in Europe. Additionally, 140 out of the 528 jobs in Buggenhout are to be cut. Ontex wants to transform the site into an expertise centre and plans a series of automation and modernisation investments there.

The news of a large-scale restructuring is not completely unexpected. The nappy manufacturer has been in the news several times in recent years following social unrest. Still, the news arrived as a shock. Indeed, it is the second largest declaration of intent to make collective redundancies this year, after the one at bus manufacturer Van Hool in Koningshooikt in March. 

Information and consultation procedures between the board and unions are soon to be taking place. Unions hope to still find alternatives for some of the redundancies. They say they want to be as constructive as possible, but at the same time also point the finger at the nappy manufacturer, which they say is behind the times and investing too late. 

Ontex said the announced restructuring is a key strategic initiative with the aim of strengthening Ontex's operational cost efficiency across Europe. 


#FlandersNewsService | Workers stand outside the Ontex hygienic disposables company in Eeklo, which is threatened with closure © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK


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