Manufacturing News

Reckitt Benckiser off-shores only Australian production; 200 jobs axed

Household and healthcare manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has announced that it will shut-down its only Australian manufacturing facility in Sydney’s northwest, moving its production of consumer products, including Mortein and Dettol, off-shore.

The decision is part of a plan to restructure its manufacturing operations closing its Australia facility and sourcing productions from overseas.

The West Ryde factory will close by July leaving approximately 200 employees, mostly production and maintenance workers without a job. It is speculated that 155 manufacturing and warehouse positions, 25 supply chain staff and 10 support jobs will go.

AMWU state secretary Tim Ayres said Reckitt Benckiser’s decision to announce its off-shore plants yesterday, without consultation with the union was a disappointing as it removed the opportunity for workers address productivity challenges that the manufacturer claims to have informed its off-shore decision.

“This closure comes with it the enormous human cost. However manufacturing is a dynamic industry where jobs are lost and created on a regular basis,” Ayres said in a statement.

“While we can’t always influence the outcomes in cases like this, there is plenty that can be done to encourage growth in manufacturing jobs.”

RB Australia CEO Lindsay Forrest said the decision was more than just productivity challenges.

In a statement, Forrest said Australia’s geographical distance from other markets and its small domestic market has made it increasingly difficult for the manufacturer to embed its West Ryde operations into global arrangements.

The company said it will move its Australia production of Mortein and Dettol products to other global manufacturing sites in Europe, Asia, South Africa, and North America, however keep its consumer contact centre in Australia.

Affected workers have been offered redundancy packages. AMWU said it will work with RB to ensure all workers received their full entitlements.

In Australia, Reckitt Benckiser also manufactures Airwick, Aerogard, Easy Off, and Harpic.

Headquartered in Slough, UK, Reckitt Benckiser is the world’s largest producer of household cleaning products and a major producer of consumer healthcare and personal products.

Image: Mortein

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