The manufacture of Australian nappies will be shipped offshore after the closure of a Sydney plant that produced one of the country’s most-loved brands.
The ‘Huggies’ plant in Ingleburn, in the city’s south-west, will be closed as Kimberly-Clark Australia’s production is moved into Asian countries such as China and Korea by July.
In total, it is expected up to 220 jobs will be lost in the move.
A production union has since described the decision to end the local manufacturing of the Australian nappies as a stupid decision for consumers, workers and the company.
“Production will move to Kimberly-Clark’s facilities in Asia, enabling faster access to the latest research and engineering advancements in nappies and pants,” the company said in a statement yesterday.
The move is part of the US corporation’s “global restructuring program”.
“All affected employees who leave Kimberly-Clark will be paid their full legal entitlements and redundancy pay. “
The union for the workers has refused to accept the decision and will try this week to convince management to go back on it.
“It’s a stupid decision for the company, for Huggies, for workers and for consumers,” CFMEU Manufacturing NSW district secretary Michael Aird told AAP.
“It isn’t in the interest of consumers. “
Huggies has topped Canstar Blue’s parent ratings for disposable nappies for the past two years.
“People pay a little extra because they know they have a product that is high quality,” Mr Aird said.
“I certainly know that as a parent of five kids who all grew up in Huggies.”
CFMEU Textile Clothing Footwear National Secretary Jenny Kruschel also described the decision as “a devastating blow” for the workers from the Ingleburn plant.
“As the news gets out, we already have parents asking ‘how will I know that Huggies nappies are still made to Australian safety standards?’,” she said in a statement.
“The reality is, parents won’t. We are rolling the dice by putting Aussie kids in nappies made in countries product safety standards are notoriously lower.
“Our members in Ingleburn have given so much to the company, with those efforts responsible for ensuring Huggies remained a market leader, yet rather than
“Kimberly-Clark needs to reverse their decision and save Huggies – a product beloved by Australian families for generations – before it’s too late. “
Meanwhile, Mr Air said the union wasn’t consulted before closure was announced and had indications the site was profitable.
He called on the Morrison government to consider intervening to support Australian jobs, whether through meetings with the company or more drastic action such as emergency tariffs.
Kimberly-Clark says it will continue to manufacture Kleenex, VIVA and Kimberly-Clark Professional products at its Millicent Mill in South Australia.