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Unilever stands firm over attack on job cuts

Unilever stands firm over attack on job cuts

Unilever has responded to accusations form trade unions that its green business has the interests of profits, but not jobs at heart.

Industrial relations outfit Unilever Euro Works Council (UEWC) said that the company “has destroyed 70,000 jobs in Europe over the past 10 years”.

“Tens of thousands of jobs have been destroyed because the brands have been reduced from 1,600 to 400, organisational structures have been simplified and companies, such as the recent case of the European Frozen Foods business, have been sold."

It added that Unilever's Compass strategy, which was set up with the aim of doubling the size of the business while also halving the amount of CO2 emissions, had failed to bring about the sort of turnaround that it had hoped for, with the results especially disappointing in Europe.

The UEWC made the statement on the back of the firm's third-quarter results statement, with chairman Hermann Soggeburg expressing a particular level of frustration that attempts to stop job cuts with Unilever boss Paul Polman had been referred to the European Unilever president.

Mr Soggeburg said that such an approach was evidence of the firm was more interested in taking a path towards restructuring and redundancies.

However, Unilever has responded by stating: “In Europe we have continued to invest in our foods category: with the Flora full revamp in the UK in September (Goodness of Sunflower) and in the launch of Rama with butter in Germany.

"We also celebrated Hellmann’s 100th birthday ­and – more recently – Knorr’s 175th birthday.”

In its latest results statement, the company posted underlying sales of growth of 3.2 per cent for the third quarter and a 4.4 rise for the first nine months of the year overall.

However, overall turnover still managed to fall by 6.5 per cent to €12.5 billion (£10.64 billion) in the last three months, mainly due to exchange rates becoming less favourable around the world.


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