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Eli Lilly announces its decision to close plant
HUNDREDS of employees at Eli Lilly in Basingstoke look set to lose their jobs after the company announced that a decision has been made to close the site.
Workers at Lilly's drug manufacturing site in Kingsclere Road, which employs 430 people, were told of plans to shut down the plant in June.
Since then, the company has carried out months of employee consultation on the proposals and the board of directors has now taken the decision that the site will close unless an alternative pharmaceutical firm agrees, before the end of 2006, to take it over.
If a buyer is not found, it is anticipated that the company will halt operations in Kingsclere Road in the summer of 2008. Lilly - which will be keeping its UK headquarters in Basingstoke - is currently in talks with several pharmaceutical companies interested in the site, but discussions are at a very early stage.
Of the 430 employees currently working in Basingstoke, between 40 and 60 will be relocated to Eli Lilly's other sites in the UK and 100 will be eligible for retirement, leaving between 270 and 290 facing redundancy. More than 100 contractors working at the site will also lose their jobs.
Andrew Hotchkiss, UK managing director of Eli Lilly, said: "The consultation period has been a difficult time for many employees at the site who have had to come to terms with the impact that the proposed closure would have on their lives.
"We have discussed a package of support, both financial and non-financial, which will help employees move into new roles, new careers or retirement."
The closure plans are being blamed on a lack of demand for the types of medicines being produced at the Basingstoke plant, which manufactures tablets and capsules, and the increasing importance of injectable medicines.
Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, said: "Obviously, it is concerning to hear that a final decision has been made, but I am sure that Eli Lilly will do all it can to support both the employees who will lose their jobs and the contract workers there.
"The loss of any employer is of great consequence and I think we need to be aware of this when we plan the future of the town.
"Situations change and employers move. We cannot take for granted that employers will be wedded to us for life."