UPDATED: GSK closes consumer healthcare plant

The end has come for a GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) consumer healthcare plant in New Jersey that has been targeted for closure for three years. The drugmaker Thursday stopped production at the oral care plant that had 270 workers, although some of those have taken jobs in New York where production is being moved.

GSK spokeswoman Teresa Caro told the The Record that production is being moved from the plant in Clifton, NJ, to a plant 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 that 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 jobs in 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 close.

In an email statement Thursday, Caro said the 270 jobs at the Clifton facility were filled by GSK employees, but that some were "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.

It has been a tough couple of weeks for employees at GSK consumer plants. Last week, about 200 employees had to be evacuated from its plant in Aiken, SC, where there was a methane gas leak. The plant was cleared on Tuesday 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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