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Stiff competition Japan Tobacco to cut over 250 jobs in Geneva


JTI currently employs over 1,100 staff in Geneva.

(Keystone / Martial Trezzini)

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) is planning to cut one quarter of its staff in Geneva over a three-year period as part of restructuring measures. 

On Monday, the multinational firm behind cigarette brands like Winston, Camel and Benson & Hedges confirmed restructuring plans and job cuts, which had been earlier reported in the GHI local newspaper.  

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Some of the 268 posts cut in Geneva may be relocated to east Asia and eastern Europe, JTI said. The company informed staff of its plans on Monday, it told Le Temps newspaper. Worldwide cuts are expected to affect 3,720 employees or 6% of the workforce. JTI will concentrate its resources on three sites: Warsaw, St Petersburg and Manila.

The move comes after 18 months of analysis of the company’s operation in a bid to improve competitiveness. JTI currently employs over 1,100 staff in Geneva and it is expected that 900 employees will remain after the slimming down.  

The company, which employs 45,000 people worldwide and has been based in Geneva since 2015, reiterated its commitment to remain headquartered in Geneva. Its distinctive sloping glass building, which was built to regroup local staff, is located in the international district close to the UN headquarters and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).  

Declining sales, especially in Japan, have hurt the company’s bottom line in recent years. A restrictive smoking ban in Tokyo at the Olympic Games venues in 2020 is unlikely to help matters. The potential merger of rival Philip Morris with another tobacco giant Altria could also put further pressure on the industry.

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