Space issues lead GSK to close NJ facility, shift production

It has been a tough couple of weeks for employees at GlaxoSmithKline consumer healthcare plants. Thursday the company ($GSK) closed an oral healthcare plant in Clifton, NJ, that employed 270 workers. Last week, about 200 employees had to be evacuated from its plant in Aiken, SC, where there was a methane gas leak.

GSK spokeswoman Teresa Caro told the The Record that the company shifted production in Clifton to a facility in Oak Hill, NY. "This decision is based on constraints around the facility's current infrastructure, which limits the company's capability to meet the future business demands for its growing oral care business as well as the rising costs associated with maintaining the facility," she told the newspaper in a statement.

Caro told New Jersey's Star Ledger that the closure is part of a phaseout that was announced in April 2010. She said production at the oral care plant was shutting down Thursday but "the site will continue decommissioning activities until June 30, 2014." Employees who wanted to transfer to New York have already started there and the rest will get severance pay and services, she said. Workers were told in August the plant would finally close by the end of this month.

In an emailed statement Thursday, Caro said the 270 jobs at the Clifton facility were filled by GSK employees, as well as "contingent workers and contractors." A WARN notice sent to the state about the closure related to "only GSK employees currently working at the site." The notice was for 165 jobs. Caro did not say how many workers transferred to New York.

The plant in Aiken, SC, was cleared on Tuesday because of the methane gas leak but work resumed the next night, according to in-PharmaTechnologist.

Like other drugmakers, GSK has been closing some plants to save costs. Last month, it said a plant in Romania it no longer needed might be sold rather than closed.

- here's the Star Ledger story
- read the Record's story
- here's the in-PharmaTechnologist story

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