LONDON – Nearly 1,500 people are at the risk of losing their jobs if both Philips and Marks & Spenser finally close down some of their outlets.
Philips is closing its factory in the United Kingdom (UK) and transferring operations to the Netherlands. This movement is putting 430 jobs in balance. Philips, headquartered in Amsterdam, is one of the largest electronics companies in the world.
According to media reports in the UK, the Dutch multinational said the decision was part of a plan to reduce its number of manufacturing sites around the world, not directly related to the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) as some sceptics had started to claim.
However, in July last year, Philips warned that it would cut up to 500 jobs at the facility if the UK does not secure a favourable trade deal with the EU. And in October, Frans van Houten, the boss at Phillips, underlined the point, saying Brexit threatened Philips’ presence in the UK and the country’s position as a manufacturing hub.
“As time passes and there is no solution I get increasingly worried that hereafter frictionless trade between the United Kingdom and European mainland could be at risk,” Mr van Houten told journalists after the company reported disappointing quarterly earnings in 2018.
The factory will close in 2020, Philips said.
“I recognise that our proposed plan will have a profound impact on our colleagues working at the Glemsford site, and our manufacturing presence in the UK,” said Neil Mesher, chief executive of Philips UK & Ireland.
Mesher continued: “We have announced the proposal after careful consideration, and over the next period, we will work closely with the impacted colleagues on next steps.”
However, Brexiteer broadcaster Liz Kershaw has branded the loss of Philips as “great news” for Brexit on breakfast television, January 18.
Situation at Marks & Spencer
In a separate development, UK’s Express reports that Marks & Spencer has unveiled plans to shut 100 branches affecting 1,045 employees. The retailer has been struggling to improve sales over recent years.
The company’s wider plan is to close 100 branches by 2022 so as to battle the tough business environment.
In the January 15 announcement, Sacha Berendji, retail, operations and property director at Marks & Spencer, said: “Proposing to close stores is never easy, for our colleagues, customers or the local community, but it is vital for the future of M&S. So far, the company has closed 30 stores, affecting 1,891 colleagues…”
Founded in 1884, Marks & Spencer is a major British multinational retailer headquartered in London. It specialises in selling clothing, home products and luxury food products. Marks & Spencer is listed on the London Stock Exchange.