A petition with more than 2,000 names will today be handed to Walkers bosses as the community pleads with it to rethink plans to close down its Peterlee factory.
The GMB will present the document - following the online appeal which was launched when PepsiCo announced it proposed to shut the crisp making plant on New Year’s Eve.
The petition shows the strength of feeling in the local community.Michael Hunt
The move would leave 355 production staff, 25 HGV drivers and 150 agency workers out of a job.
The firm has said it wants to improve efficiency as it looks to grow its business, with efforts to be made to find another company to run its neighbouring warehouse.
Michael Hunt is a regional organiser for the GMB union with responsibility for members on the site on Stephenson Road.
He will hand over the petition at the first consultation meeting to be held with the firm - with definitive numbers of likely job losses to be confirmed.
The petition was launched by Horden Parish Councillor Darren Meadows.
Mr Hunt said: “There have been so many comments that have been raised but many feel they have been left in the dark and I have said I am happy to meet the members and keep them informed.
“The petition shows the strength of feeling in the local community.
“It is going to have a massive impact on the employees’ families but also the wider community literally on the businesses in the local area.
“People are not going to have the same money to shop without these jobs, so it will not just be these workers who are affected.
“A lot of people feel it’s a disgrace Walkers is proposing to close this important site.
“I will do everything in my power to try and keep that factory open on behalf of GMB members and I agree the petition is an important petition to try and keep this site going.
“Will Walkers take much notice? We will have to see.”
The factory makes Crinkles, Walkers Sensations, Scampi Fries, Bacon Fries, Cheese Moments and Cheetos Twisted.