Novartis task force meets as clock ticks on plant closure

Feb. 17, 2020

A Novartis task force set up to deal with the closure of the drugmaker's Grimsby UK plant met for the first time last week.

Local authority and government officials will join site director Ian Johnson and town MP Lia Nici to discuss the situation, as the April closure of one of the three core manufacturing units, Building 110, creeps closer.

In September 2018, Novartis announced plans to cut 2,550 jobs in Switzerland and Britain over four years in order to boost profits and allow the drugmaker to focus on new medicines.

There is still no buyer for the 220-acre site, and it is estimated that the drugmaker's departure will bring a £23 ($29.9 million) blow to the economy in wages alone – and lead to the loss of 400 jobs at the facility. The task force was created after former Grimsby MP Melanie Onn put pressure on Novartis to act as a responsible employer in the town as it prepared to leave.

Novartis is reportedly offering enhanced redundancy packages, re-training and support from financial planning to mental health.

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