Unilever is axing 315 jobs at three of its UK manufacturing plants, including the country's only Marmite factory, while positions at its Pot Noodle and Flora plants are also under threat.

Unilever said the latest job losses were part of its plans to drive competitiveness and growth across its UK operations. It is dedicating £30m to improve technology across nine of its UK plants with £18m set aside for its Marmite and Bovril factory in Burton, Staffordshire, and detergents and bleach plants in Liverpool and Warrington.

Approximately 315 positions would be lost at these three factories over the next 12 months, confirmed Unilever's head of media relations Trevor Gorin. The job losses come three months after Unilever UK chairman Dave Lewis set out his plans for the "drastic simplification" of Unilever UK in a bid to speed up the streamlining of the business from five to two divisions - foods and ice cream and home/personal care products.

Gorin added there would also be an "impact on jobs" at the Flora and Stork spreads production site in Purfleet, Essex, and at the Pot Noodle plant at Crumlin, south Wales, and its Lynx deodorant business in Leeds.

Unilever is reviewing costs and competitiveness at these three sites and will announce the extent of job losses by next April. But, following a review of operations at the factories, 40 new positions will be created at its Manchester-based PG Tips plant. A further 15 new roles will be created at Unilever's Colman's English Mustard plant in Norwich.

The Unite union said the job cuts were not unexpected after Unilever's announcement in August that it would cut 20,000 jobs across its global operations.

"We have had significant job cuts in the UK and we will be doing all we can to minimise the numbers going," said Unite national spokesman Brian Revell.