Two unions demanded urgent talks today with bosses at a synthetic products company where 130 jobs are being axed in a town which has a population of only around 60,000.
GMB and Unite want a meeting with chiefs at Ineos ChlorVinyls in Runcorn - part of the Swiss-based multinational Ineos.
GMB said the planned job losses are in an area which can "ill afford" to lose them and both unions have written to the company "expressing concern."
GMB senior organiser Terry Mellor said: "The company announced the closure of its VCM and PVC plants last Thursday following the reduction in demand for PVC."
The company had originally said that no jobs would be lost as affected staff would be offered other roles at the site.
Mr Mellor said: "The announcement came as a shock to our members, particularly as it came so soon after changes to the pension scheme that were meant to control costs and help secure the future of the site.
"And despite reports of no job losses, the fact is the company are planning to cut the workforce by around 130."
Ineos ChlorVinyls said the decision was the "outcome of an internal asset review in light of the impact of the prolonged economic downturn on European market demand."
Ineos was built up by Manchester-born James Ratcliffe, a "publicity shy" chemical engineer who has been listed as one of the richest people in the country.