United Kingdom
Northern Ireland; East of Northern Ireland;
Location of affected unit(s)
Manufacture Of Tobacco Products
Manufacture Of Tobacco Products
12 - Manufacture of tobacco products

800 - 870 jobs
Number of planned job losses
Job loss
Announcement Date
8 October 2014
Employment effect (start)
1 May 2015
Foreseen end date
31 October 2017


Ballymena-based cigarette manufacturer Gallaher has announced that it is to close. The decision by owners Japan Tobacco International (JTI), who bought the company in 2007, means that 800 jobs will be lost. The redundancies are likely to start in May 2015. 

The announced closure in Ballymena is part of wider restructuring across the European Union, with plants also set for closure in Belgium and Germany. Following consultation and review of markets, production may be moved to more profitable sites in Romania and Poland. The company cited competitive pressures, tax duties and illegal trade as major reasons for the restructuring. JTI also noted that the revised EU tobacco products directive will lead to a reduction in the number of formats which can be produced and has prompted a review of manufacturing operations. 

The decision to close the Ballymena plant is a major blow to employment, with Gallaher contributing £60 million annually to the local economy. 

Update 19/11/2014: Trade union Unite has tabled plans to save 500 jobs at Gallaher's Ballymena plant. The proposals are understood to advocate turning the factory into a 'centre of excellence' focusing on cigar and pouch tobacco prodcution. Even is these plans are accepted, over 300 jobs will still be lost. The proposals are also reported to include concessions on workers' terms and conditions.  

Update 21/01/2015: It has been confirmed that the closure of the Gallaher Ballymena plant will go ahead and be complete by 2017. The company took the decision to reject the rescue package tabled by the Unite union meaning that a total of 870 jobs will be lost.  

Update 20/05/2016: The first wave of redundancies at JTI Gallaher has taken effect. The first 500 redundancies have taken effect as of 20 May 2016.  The remaining jobs will be cut over the following 12 months, as the plant winds down towards its closure in May 2017. 

Update 25/04/2017: The closure of the JTI Gallaher plant in Ballymena has been postponed for five months. The closure, which was due to take effect by the end of May 2017, has been put back to October 2017. Of the 800 staff who were employed at the factory, only 60 remain. Most redundancies took effect during 2016.


  • 19 November 2014: BBC Website
  • 8 October 2014: The Guardian
  • 21 January 2015: BBC Webiste
  • 20 May 2016: BBC Website


Eurofound (2014), JTI Gallaher, Closure in United Kingdom, factsheet number 77736, European Restructuring Monitor. Dublin, https://restructuringeventsprod.azurewebsites.net/restructuring-events/detail/77736.