KP Snacks factories in Consett and Corby could close
Up to 186 jobs are under threat after a crisp company said it had plans to close two of its factories in a move to streamline its business.
KP Snacks said it was considering closing factories in Consett in County Durham and Corby in Northamptonshire.
The firm is also considering expanding operations at its site in Billingham, Teesside, and Stanley, near Consett.
A final decision will be made after a 45-day consultation. Any closures are likely to be in the first half of 2015.
The manufacturer makes a number of well-known brands, including Hula-Hoops, Skips and Phileas Fogg, as well as the original KP brand.'Competitive market'
The factory in Consett, the original home of Phileas Fogg crisps, has 103 workers, while the Corby plant has 83.
It is not yet known how many jobs could be saved or created by expanding operations at Billingham and Stanley.
The firm's chief executive, Nick Bunker, said it was proposing the closures "in order to develop a sustainable and competitive manufacturing operation".
"We operate in an increasingly competitive market and need to focus on our cost base in order to develop a sustainable business," he said.
"We very much appreciate the hard work, commitment and focus on quality of our Corby and Consett colleagues during this difficult time."
Suzanne Reid of the GMB union added: "There is utter devastation here at the moment.
"The company are stating that these are just proposals, but as you can appreciate this is a big employer in the area.
"People are devastated for themselves, their families and the rest of the community.
"We are going to be exploring every avenue possible to support our members, with the hope that the site will stay open."