A MAJOR Hampshire employer is planning to make around 200 staff redundant.

Contact lens manufacturer CooperVision says the job losses are because of advances in manufacturing and are not related to the Covid-19 crisis.

But their MP said the redundancies would have a “profound effect” on all the company’s Hampshire staff.

The US-based business said it was “phasing out” some production processes at its Hamble and Chandlers Ford sites, which currently employ more than 1,700 people.

It hopes most of the 200 redundancies will be filled by volunteers.

A statement from the company said: “For decades, CooperVision has been successful by adapting to the needs of eye care professionals and contact lens wearers, introducing new products while retiring legacy technologies and processes to maintain and set the pace for the industry.

“In keeping with this approach, our Hamble and Chandlers Ford facilities in the United Kingdom will phase out some production processes in favour of newer, more advanced manufacturing methods over the next several years.

“As a result of more advanced manufacturing processes and our transition to newer products, the company anticipates, subject to consultation with employees and their representatives, a proposed reduction of approximately 200 positions in the coming months. It is anticipated that the majority will be colleagues who come forward for voluntary redundancy. We will treat affected employees with the utmost respect in line with our values.

“CooperVision’s presence in both communities remains very strong. Combined, the sites will continue to employ more than 1,500 people after the changes, with more than 500 at other CooperVision sites in Hampshire. These sites will remain important locations in the company’s manufacturing network, benefitting from deep contact lens expertise and significant investments in new production technologies.”

Eastleigh’s MP, Conservative Paul Holmes, said: “While the company is attributing these redundancies to business changes and new technologies rather than problems associated with coronavirus, this announcement will still have a profound effect on all those who work for CooperVision.

“I stand ready with my parliamentary colleagues to help those individuals impacted by this decision in any way that I can. Together we will make sure you that can access the support you need so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”