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Unilever could axe up to 1,000 jobs in Germany: union

Reuters

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - A German union said cost cuts at Unilever <UNc.AS> <ULVR.L> could lead to up to 1,000 job cuts and possibly the closure of some of its eight factories in Germany.

"The plants in Auerbach, Stavenhagen and Heilbronn are under review," Michaela Rosenberger, head of food industry union NGG, said in a statement on Monday.

According to NGG, around 5,000 of Unilever's 168,000 employees work at 11 sites in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, making, among other products, Knorr instant soup, Magnum ice cream and Rama margarine.

Unilever, the maker of Dove soap, said in April it would speed up cost savings and sell its shrinking margarines business after February's $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz <KHC.O> jolted it into a corporate makeover aimed at proving it can go it alone.

A spokesman for Unilever said it was true the company planned to review its food plants in Germany, excluding those making margarine, but said the outcome of the review was open.

"Any statements on job cuts and plant closures are total speculation," he said.

According to the union, a meeting of staff in Germany has been called for Tuesday.

(Reporting by Maria Sheahan, editing by David Evans)