The factory in Bergen op Zoom, in the south western part of the Netherlands, is Philip Morris International’s largest factory world-wide and one of the most modern. Brands such as Marlboro, L&M and Chesterfield have been produced there since 1980.
Of the 1,370 employees, 1,230 manufacturing workers risk losing their jobs. An additional 400 workers employed by service providers are also affected, as are an estimated 2,000 jobs in the region.
With net revenues of over 80 billion USD in 2013, Philip Morris International has nevertheless decided to maintain a presence in the Netherlands in order to continue benefiting from that country’s favourable tax climate. PMI Netherlands’ net revenue was over 500 million EUR in 2012.
IUF affiliates FNV Bondgenoten and CNV Vakmensen, together with the works council, are currently examining the grounds for the proposed closure, indicating they will do everything possible to preserve jobs. Questions are being asked of Government about tax benefits and subsidies enjoyed by multinationals and rumoured agreements between PMI and the Dutch tax authority.
The announcement came days after Philip Morris said it would end cigarette production in Australia by the end of this year. The closure of the Melbourne factory could result in the loss of 180 jobs as the company shifts production to South Korea.