The minimum size of rolling tobacco packs looks set to increase – something said to pose a major jobs threat.
The Unite union last week warned that up to 300 jobs could go at Ballymena’s JTI plant, formerly Gallaher’s, if the changes went ahead.
Yesterday the European Council, Commission, and Parliament reached an agreement to up the smallest packet size to 30g. The move will have to be ratified in February.
JTI produces them in sizes as low as 12.5g, and the fear is that if fewer packets are being produced, it will lead to a drop in the workforce as a result.
UUP MEP Jim Nicholson lobbied for 20g instead, and said: “While the public health objectives of the proposal are laudable, this agreement as it stands will jeopardise the livelihoods of hundreds of families who rely on the factory.”