A group has been formed to help hundreds of staff at a threatened factory.
In March, managers at Coty – formerly Proctor and Gamble – announced plans that could lead to the closure of the Seaton Delaval site, with the potential loss of 370 jobs.
The proposal is still subject to consultation with employees, but should it go ahead it could lead to the closure of the factory by the end of 2018.
Northumberland County Council and Arch, the Northumberland development company, have now formed a response group.
It is being supported by Seaton Valley Community Council and a range of organisations including the Department of International Trade, JobCentre Plus, North East Enterprise Agencies Ltd, Northumberland College, National Careers Service, North East of England Process Industry Cluster, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Confederation of British Industry.
Steven Mason, chief executive at Northumberland County Council, said: “The response group has held its first meeting and has resolved to develop support for the workers at this site for the short, medium and longer term.
“Through Arch we will be keeping in touch with the company and monitoring the situation while consultation takes place with staff.
“Priorities for the group, should the proposed closure go ahead, will be supporting employees and getting them back into work; supporting the local community and the supply chain; and working to secure a positive future for the site at Seaton Delaval.
“The council is committed to supporting the local workforce and has a good track record of this type of activity – having worked closely with General Mills in Berwick to support staff when it announced its closure plans.”
Coty, which produces a range of fragrances and make-up for leading brands, has expressed its support for the group and will be working with them over the coming months.
The group plans to meet at regular intervals during the coming months and will report on progress.
Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell has also been raising the issue of the factory’s future in Parliament.
In March, Coty said: “We have announced proposed changes to our international manufacturing network including our fragrance operation in Seaton Delaval.
“These proposals are the result of a detailed study of our expanded global manufacturing capacities and capabilities for each of our divisions following the merger with P&G Specialty Beauty brands and with the objective to enable our future growth.
“As a result of the study’s recommendations, we are proposing subject to Board approval, to consolidate our fragrance operations into fewer core centres which will result in the proposed closure of the Seaton plant.
“Specific timelines are still under consideration and subject to consultation in relation to these proposals.”