Hundreds of Kent Pfizer staff receive 'at risk' notices

Pfizer's Sandwich premises The research and development site in Sandwich employs 2,400 people

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About 900 staff at drugs company Pfizer have started receiving "at risk" of redundancy notices.

Pfizer announced it was closing the Sandwich site, which employs 2,400 people, in February.

It said notices of redundancy would not be sent out until a 90-day consultation into the closure of the facility had ended.

Pfizer has not revealed how many of the plant's workforce will be laid off and how many will be redeployed.

'Enhanced redundancy package'

A spokeswoman said: "Approximately 900 colleagues will receive their at risk notice during the collective consultation period.

"No colleague will receive notice of redundancy until the current period of collective consultation has concluded.

"Only after that date can colleagues who have been notified they are at risk begin to receive notice of redundancy, and this will occur at different times according to the needs and priorities of each area of the business."

The firm started consulting staff and the community about the closure of the research and development facility in February.

Pfizer also announced that it had enhanced the redundancy package staff leaving the site would received.

The spokeswoman said: "In recognition of the specific situation they are in - this will provide increased financial flexibility, and a longer period of financial certainty.

"Colleagues will receive an additional payment equivalent to three months base salary - plus shift allowance - as part of their redundancy."

Confidential talks

The firm also said it had created a "one-off fund to support local charities" that it had helped in recent years.

In March, a task force set up to limit the impact of the site's closure said Pfizer was having confidential talks with research companies about salvaging jobs.

A report by the group also called for the creation of an east Kent recovery and growth package.

The University of Kent has already expressed interest in using some of the Pfizer facilities.

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