Following Kodak's announcement in January to halt production of film cameras it is cutting jobs at manufacturing sites in France, the UK and Australia resulting in the loss of nearly 1500 jobs. Around 600 people are expected to lose their jobs in both the UK and Australia. The decline of film will see the closure of a facility in Harrow, UK that sensitizes film for the graphics industry, a plant in Nottingham, UK, which primarily produces consumer film and a factory in Melbourne, Australia. Job losses in France will amount to around 270 following the closure of a site in Chalon, France which produces films and photographic paper. It also plans to restructure its sites in both countries which will reduce the company's square footage by one third.

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Press Release:

Rochester , N.Y. , USA Eastman Kodak Co., announced changes at manufacturing sites in England and France, part of Kodak's three-year program, announced in January, to reduce worldwide employment by 12,000 to 15,000 and to reduce total facilities square footage by one-third.

"Such actions are essential for Kodak to reinforce its leading position in digital imaging products and services, while sustaining and extending its worldwide leadership in traditional photographic products," said Etienne Bourgeois, chairman, Eastman Kodak S.A., and regional operations manager, Europe, Africa and Middle Eastern Region.

The site in Harrow, Middlesex, England, will remain a major center for the production of color photographic paper, and will become the headquarters for operations in the United Kingdom. About 300 support staff and business unit positions will be transferred to the site from other U.K. locations, including from the current head office in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, England. At the same time, a facility in Harrow that sensitizes film (applying light-sensitive emulsions) for the graphics industry will close by the end of March 2005, affecting about 250 employees. After the changes, the site will continue to employ about 1,400 employees in manufacturing, support, research and business unit functions.

The plant in Annesley, Nottingham, England primarily produces consumer photographic film, which is declining, especially in developed markets like Western Europe. As a result, the Annesley plant will close by the end of September 2005, with the resulting loss of about 350 jobs.

The site in Chalon, France, will focus on the continued production of two key product lines - health imaging and motion picture print (theater projection) films. However, due to declining demand for consumer films and color photographic paper, production of those products at Chalon will cease by the end of September 2005, with a corresponding reduction in positions. The net impact of the changes will mean a loss of about 270 positions, with the site continuing to employ about 1,800 employees in manufacturing, support, research and business unit functions.

"These are very difficult actions because they impact Kodak people who have for decades demonstrated great skill and an unwavering commitment to serve our customers with quality products, but they are required in light of declining overall demand for traditional photographic products," said Daniel T. Meek, director, Global Manufacturing & Logistics, and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "All employees affected will be treated with respect, with Kodak ensuring they receive proper severance, access to counseling support, as well as outplacement services."

Meek noted the move to consolidate some of its manufacturing in Europe is consistent with actions that have occurred at Kodak plants elsewhere in the world, including those in the United States, Canada, China, Mexico and Australia. "After these changes, Kodak will still have a strong manufacturing presence in Europe," he said.

BBC News reported that Kodak currently employs about 3,000 people in the United Kingdom.

"Today's announcements are driven by fundamental, structural change in the imaging industry worldwide and Kodak's intent to transform the company and remain the leader in imaging," said Peter Blackwell, managing director of Kodak in the United Kingdom. "The simple fact is that customer and consumer preferences are changing and demand for traditional products such as film and paper has fallen with the rising popularity of digital photography."