Tissue World Magazine, World News

(News from RISI) – SCA is set to close its tissue mill in Sant Joan de Mediona, Barcelona.

In future, the production of mother reels in Spain will be concentrated at SCA’s sites in Allo, Navarra and Valls, Tarragona.

According to RISI’s asset database, the mill in Sant Joan de Mediona can produce some 45,000tpy of tissue on two machines.

SCA said it announced its intention to close the Mediona facility on 4 May.

In a statement the company said: “Despite comprehensive measures taken by SCA, the factory is no longer competitive in this market.

“Mother reel production, which is the only activity in the Mediona factory, [will] be carried out from SCA’s other Spanish factories in Allo and Valls with higher efficiency.”

The group added that it has initiated the consultation process with the worker representatives.

SCA is reportedly discussing a social plan that contains measures like the relocation of the maximum number of impacted employees to the Allo and Valls production centres.

“With this measure, the company aims to keep and create sustainable employment in the country,” SCA added.

According to the trade union UGT Catalunya, 72 employees would be affected by the closure of the Mediona site. The negotiating parties reportedly have until 24 June to come to an agreement.

“The negotiation process is following a positive evolution and we have received positive input from the works council so far in order to reach the best possible solution for the impacted employees,” an SCA spokesperson said.

The group added that SCA has been investing heavily in the Spanish market since 2012 and in the past two years in particular, citing the startup of two diaper production lines in Valls and the expansion of the Allo facility with additional production lines and the construction of a new international distribution centre.

UGT Catalunya voiced its disappointment with the planned Mediona closure in a statement.

“We understand that the decision to close the Mediona facility is a consequence of the realisation of the strategic plan that the Swedish company started three years ago, boosting the two large production centres in Tarragona and Navarra, which were taken over in connection with the Georgia-Pacific acquisition, to the detriment of the Mediona facility,” UGT Catalunya said.

According to the union, the first consequence of the strategic plan was the transfer of the converting activities carried out at the Mediona mill to the Allo facility, which affected 134 employees back in 2013.

“This transfer of activity left the Mediona plant only with the operation of paper machines and created a more delicate situation for the 72 remaining workers who were producing only as back-up for other factories in Europe during maintenance shutdowns and the start-up phase of the Navarra site,” UGT Catalunya noted.

“The [Mediona] staff feel cheated because in 2013 the management made them believe that it was betting on a new market, jumbo reels, which would safeguard production at the site. In reality, however, the plant has been doomed for three years. […] The job cuts in 2013 were only a preliminary step on the way to the complete closure of the mill,” the trade union added.