The factory that manufactures Huggies nappies in Sydney’s south-west will close its doors, meaning the loss of up to 220 jobs.
Kimberly-Clark Australia has announced it will cease operations at its Ingleburn Mill at the end of July.
The company said the closure was part of its global restructuring program.
“Going forward, production will move to Kimberly-Clark facilities in Asia, enabling faster access to the latest research and engineering advancements in nappies and pants,” Kimberley-Clark Australia and New Zealand managing director Doug Cunningham said.
The company promised employees would be paid their full entitlements, and redundancy pay with counselling would also be provided.
“At this time our focus is on the wellbeing of employees and their families,” Mr Cunningham said in a statement.
The mill had been operating since 1988 and a $28 million production line was opened in 2013.
Other products manufactured by Kimberly-Clark will continue to be produced locally at the company’s Millicent Mill in South Australia.
Angry consumers flooded social media with comments about the decision.
“No more Huggies nappies for me. If I’m going to pay a premium price, I expect it will help keep Australians employed,” one said.
“Australia can’t compete when it comes to overseas labour costs,” another said.
‘The site’s profitable’ union says
Michael Aird, NSW secretary of the CFMEU manufacturing union, said the announcement by Kimberly-Clark Australia came as a shock.
“They’ve had no discussions with us at any stage to even indicate there was even any potential of job losses occurring, so we’re shocked by it,’ he said.
“The workers are sad, they’re devastated, but they’re also angry about the decision. They feel deeply betrayed.”
He has called on the federal government to help keep the company open.
“We want the decision reversed – we want the company to keep making Huggies in Australia with jobs being kept in Australia and Huggies nappies being made with high quality that are safe,” Mr Aird said.
“We don’t know really know the basis for the decision. We know the site’s been profitable. The company’s told us the site’s profitable.”
The union will meet management and staff at 11am on Thursday.