More than 300 tobacco jobs to go in Houthalen

In three years' time, the cigar factory of Scandinavian Tobacco in Houthalen (Limburg province) is to close its doors. 300 jobs will be shed in the process. Trades unions are considering strike action.

In a first phase, 142 jobs will be scrapped, but by 2014 this number will reach 310.

The management will try to limit the number of dismissals, hoping that a number of employees will leave on a voluntary basis taking early retirement. "However, a number of employees will be fired. This cannot be avoided when you are talking about 310 people. You can't expect all of them to leave on a voluntary basis", explains Andres Vandereycken of the socialist trades union.