Jobs blow as firm wields axe

A PETROCHEMICAL company has announced plans to shed 110 jobs at its Tees Valley sites.

SABIC UK Petrochemicals is proposing to “restructure its operations” but that includes reducing its 700­-strong Teesside workforce, with another 50 contractor and agency positions to go as well.

SABIC has sites at Wilton but also at North Tees in the Seal Sands area.

Teesside manufacturing director Mike Ducker said: “The European recession has ultimately resulted in a significant downturn in the demand for the sort of everyday items our products go into.”

He said competition had also intensified and SABIC was “having to face up to suppliers elsewhere in the world, particularly in the United States and Asia, being able to make the same products that we do at a significantly lower cost”.

SABIC operates the Olefins “Cracker” site at Wilton, producing ethylene, propylene, butadiene and gasoline products which are used in goods such as plastic drinks bottles, CDs, car interiors and tyres.

It also runs a Low Density Polyethylene plant at Wilton, producing plastic packaging used to wrap everything from food to electrical goods.

And SABIC also has a production complex at North Tees which features a large­-scale aromatics and ethylene liquefaction facility.

Aromatics are the building blocks for products such as medicines, food packaging, sports equipment and computers.

The Europe­-wide restructuring is expected to affect 1,050 SABIC employees and contractor positions.

Koos van Haasteren, vice president of SABIC in Europe, added: “I am confident that SABIC will be in an even stronger position to meet customer needs, support its employees and contribute to the communities and environments within which we operate, once the restructuring process has been completed.”