Employment Law

Unilever Layoffs: 7,500 jobs being cut, spinning off ice cream unit

A photo of ice cream in a cone with sprinkles all over the table. (Photo: Courtney Cook / Unsplash)

Unilever is eliminating approximately 7,500 jobs and spinning off its ice cream unit — home to major brands, including Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum.

What’s happening at Unilever?

In a news release on March 19, the consumer goods giant said the layoffs, which are part of a “productivity program”, are expected to mainly affect office-based roles.

“The separation of [our ice cream unit] and the delivery of the productivity [program] will help create a simpler, more focused, and higher performing Unilever,” Ian Meakins, chair of Unilever’s board, said in the release.

“It will also create a world-leading ice cream business, with strong growth prospects and an exciting future as a standalone business.”

The company expects its ice cream unit to be fully separated by the end of 2025.

Following the separation, Unilever will operate four business groups across “Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care and Nutrition.”

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Impact on Canadian staff

It remains unclear if any Canadian employees are affected by the latest round of job cuts at Unilever.

According to the company’s LinkedIn page, it has more than 1,100 workers in the country.

Termination agreements for Unilever Canada employees

In Canada, non-unionized employees at Unilever are owed full severance pay when they lose their jobs due to downsizing, corporate restructuring, or the closure of the business.

This includes individuals working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

People working “on contract” or as a contractor may also be owed severance pay — given that many employees in Canada are often misclassified as independent contractors.

Severance can be as much as 24 months’ pay, depending on a number of factors.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Before accepting a severance offer, double-check the amount using our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their entitlements.

In addition to your salary, make sure to factor in any other elements of your compensation (i.e. bonuses, commission, etc.).

If your employer’s offer falls short of what our Severance Pay Calculator says you are owed, it’s very likely that you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue proper severance pay.

Rights to severance for provincially regulated employees
• Severance packages during mass layoffs
Severance entitlements in a recession

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Major layoffs continue

The job cuts at Unilever come amid a flurry of layoffs in 2024.

Big names, including IBM, TC Energy, Electronic Arts, Rivian, Sony, Vice Media, BuzzFeed, Nike, Cisco, Catalent, CascadesBlackBerry, PayPal, UPS, Microsoft, and Rona, have pulled out the axe as they continue to navigate challenging economic conditions.

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Walmart Canada cuts jobs amid restructuring, shift to Spark: Reports
Where are layoffs happening in Canada?

Lost your job? Talk to an employment lawyer

If you have been fired or let go for any reason, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have successfully represented tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals.

In addition to severance package negotiations, we can assist you on a broad range of employment matters, including:

If you are a non-unionized employee who needs help with a workplace issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need and the compensation you deserve.

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