MORE than 40 job losses have been confirmed at a crisp factory.
The Walkers Snack Foods factory, in Peterlee, has announced 42 redundancies among its production staff.
It is expected that affected staff will end their employment at the site, in Stephenson Road, on the North East Industrial Estate, this week.
The loss of more than 10 per cent of the site’s 407-strong workforce comes after the firm changed its operations to a 24/7 shift pattern.
Bosses say this is to secure the plant’s long-term viability and to enable Walkers to respond more flexibly to customer orders.
The blow comes after a 90-day consultation period with staff.
In November last year, Peterlee site manager AnneMaria Goodyer had revealed proposals to start the shift pattern, in line with common industry practice.
She said at the time it was likely this would result in the loss of around 50 jobs.
Today, a spokeswoman for Walkers’ parent company Pepsico confirmed 42 jobs are to go.
The spokeswoman said: “In November 2010, we announced our proposal to move our Peterlee site to a 24/7 shift pattern to secure its long-term viability and to enable us to respond more flexibly to our customers’ requirements.
“We also stated that this difficult decision may result in some job losses.
“Following a 90-day consultation process with all potentially affected employees, we have unfortunately had to make 42 redundancies.
“All impacted employees are being offered support and assistance in finding new jobs.
“We believe this is the right decision for the future of this site and are grateful to all our employees at our Peterlee site for their continued dedication and commitment.”