Toothpaste-maker Colgate has announced the closure of one of its factories and the loss of 400 jobs.
The factory to be closed is in Salford, near Manchester. The firm said it expects the plant to shut down by the end of 2007.
The move is part of a previously-announced programme to cut jobs and close factories to source products in the most “efficient and effective way”.
Union leaders said they had been told production was being switched to eastern Europe.
Colgate said in a statement: “The company assured its Salford employees that this announcement is not a reflection on their contributions or on the facility’s overall performance.
“Employees were also assured that all plans resulting from the announcement would be consistent with the company’s values and that the company will provide assistance for all the affected employees.
“During the coming weeks, the company will begin the process for sharing information and consulting with shop stewards, union officials, and the European Works Council regarding the proposed plans for the intended closure.”
The Amicus union said it was seeking immediate talks.