ANOTHER of Hampshire’s major employers is shedding jobs.

Oil giant ExxonMobil is to lay off staff at its giant Fawley refinery site, which employs around 2,300 people.

The company has not said how many jobs will go but local sources suggested consultations are under way with around 100 staff.

ExxonMobil says around 400 jobs will go across the UK by the end of next year.

New Forest East MP Julian Lewis said: "Job losses such as these are a heavy blow to the individuals and communities affected.

"Let us hope that the slow implementation plan, next year, may mean that an economic recovery enables at least some of these posts to be saved."

A statement from ExxonMobil said: “As part of an extensive global review outlined during ExxonMobil’s second quarter earnings call, the company plans to reduce staffing levels across its UK business.

“Proposed changes are subject to local information and consultation processes, and result from insight gained through reorganisations and work-process changes made over the past several years to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

“The impact of Covid-19 on the demand for ExxonMobil’s products has increased the urgency of the ongoing efficiency work. It is anticipated that approximately 400 positions will be impacted in the UK by the end of 2021.”

The giant Fawley site is home to the UK’s biggest oil refinery, accounting for 20 per cent of the UK’s refinery capacity. The site also contains a plant producing 750,000 tonnes of chemical products a year.

ExxonMobil's statement said: “The proposed changes, which primarily focus on office-based positions, will not compromise the integrity of our operations.

“We remain committed to the very highest health, safety and environmental standards.

“The UK remains an important market for ExxonMobil, and we will continue to have a strong presence in the country including refining and fuels marketing, lubes, petrochemicals and sales of natural gas. We operate the UK’s largest refinery, and continue to serve our customers daily through a network of around 1,200 Esso-branded service stations.”

The blow comes days after another big Hampshire employer announced plans to shed around 200 staff.

The contact lens manufacturer CooperVision said the cuts at its Hamble and Chandlers Ford sites were because of advances in manufacturing rather than Covid-19.