The technology is being installed at its Blunham, Bedfordshire factory where it will make 40 redundancies and 14 people will lose their jobs in Louth, Lincolnshire.
Responding to customer demand
Hugo Fisher, group communications director, DS Smith, told FoodProductionDaily a consultation process is ongoing, with the number of potential jobs impacted across the two sites being 54.
“There is never a perfect time to make redundancies,” said Fisher.
“We are responding to customer demands and pressures to improve our offering to clients and investing in new machinery and technology, ultimately that is what is potentially causing the risk on certain sites.
“There is no one particular catalyst. It is an evolution of the business and economic environment and we are looking to invest in technology which gives a more efficient production method for our customers.
“It does mean we have shifted a little bit of the footprint around with less machines but replacing it with a more efficient one.”
Fisher confirmed by consolidating a number of operations and machines into a bigger piece of equipment less people are needed to operate it and the firm was continually looking at investment projects.
“Technology is an equally important part of our business and our customers are looking for the quickest machine,” he added.
“A consultation period is on-going. We have an extremely good relationship with our workforce and no final decision has been made. We want to do it right and get the best outcome for all concerned.”
Colin Todd, organiser, Midlands & East Coast Region, GMB trade union, said on behalf of the Lincolnshire branch whilst it did not want anyone to suffer from being made redundant it did understand DS Smith's business case for the job cuts.
"GMB has been informed and invited to meetings with the company about 14 proposed redundancies at the Louth site,” he said.
“The reason for this is because a new machine is being introduced at the Blunham site which will take work away from Louth when up to speed.
“GMB will do everything we can to lessen the impact of the proposal and are having regular meetings to this end."