In the Haut-Rhin, a chewing gum factory cuts 280 jobs, “in the face of a drastic and continuous drop” in sales of tablets

The French subsidiary of the American group Mars Wrigley announced, Monday, September 13, the imminent loss of 280 jobs out of the 350 in its chewing gum factory in Biesheim (Haut-Rhin), because of the drop in sales.

“It’s the death of the site, it’s the industrial dismantling of Mars Wrigley (…). It’s a difficult announcement to hear ”, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Didier Dossmann, delegate of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) of Mars Wrigley on the site near Haguenau (Bas-Rhin).

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“It’s a shock for the territory: Wrigley, it represents something, everyone here has someone around them who worked or works there”, commented the deputy of Haut-Rhin Yves Hemedinger (Les Républicains). Affecting a factory located a few kilometers from the Fessenheim nuclear power plant shut down last year, this social plan will “Weaken this territory a little more”, lamented Mr. Hemedinger, who called on the State to “Accelerate” the reconversion of this area.

Tablets “disappearing from the European market”

This project will lead to the shutdown, within a year, of the production of tablets marketed under the Freedent brand. The production of gums will be maintained to supply other factories of the group in Europe and Africa.

“Faced with a drastic and continuous drop in demand for chewing gum in tablet formats on European markets, the management of the Mars Wrigley site in Biesheim has informed its social partners and employees of a restructuring plan”, said Mars Wrigley France in a press release. This restructuring leads to the “Elimination of 280 posts” and the “Maintenance of 69 positions”, and a job protection plan (PSE) will be implemented to find reclassification solutions internal and external to the group, the group added.

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Tablets, the traditional format of chewing gum, “Are literally disappearing from the European market”, where sales fell by 37% between 2016 and 2019, worsened since by the health crisis, continued the group.

The volumes produced at the Biesheim plant fell by 74% between 2012 and 2020, and the plant was no longer running at 28% of its capacity last year, according to a spokesperson. The site still employed 639 employees in 2013, just before a previous social plan which had cut 207 jobs.

The World with AFP

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