Unilever says to cut 500 jobs in Britain

The Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever on Thursday said it planned to cut 500 jobs in Britain as part of a restructuring programme that would also see posts outsourced to India.

"In total, the proposed changes could result in a net reduction of around 500 Unilever roles in the UK. There would also be potentially the loss of around 300 associated contractor and third party roles," it said in a statement.

The changes would occur by the end of 2013, added the company whose brands include Lipton tea, Persil washing powder and Signal toothpaste.

The jobs would go at a number of sites, which would also close, while the group said it would invest £40 million ($62 million, 49 million euros) in its biggest British factory in northwest England.

Unilever said that while the investment would create around 150 jobs, it would also result in "a number of other roles moving to Unilever's IT centre in Bangalore, India."

Unilever has operations in more than 100 countries, employing over 171,000 workers.

"Like many companies today, Unilever faces the challenge of creating growth opportunities against a backdrop of very tough economic conditions in Europe," said Amanda Sourry, chairman of Unilever's Britain and Ireland operations.

"While Unilever is growing well in the UK and globally, it will always be necessary to make changes which raise our game and ensure our continued success.

"We believe these proposals would substantially strengthen our platform for long-term growth and competitiveness," she added in the group statement.

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