Unions said yesterday that AstraZeneca's plans to axe 700 jobs in Cheshire will create a skills crisis for the local economy.
The drug manufacturer plans to move the majority of 1,600 jobs in research and development at its Alderley Park base in Cheshire to a new centre in Cambridge.
The remaining jobs will move to the company's Macclesfield facility.
The changes are estimated to result in around 700 job losses from Alderley Park.
Unite and GMB attacked the announcement as disastrous for Britain, and for the north-west in particular.
"Skilled scientific jobs are in short supply and there are many families based around Alderley Park with deep roots in the community," Unite national officer Linda McCulloch said.
"It is going to be a real struggle to relocate families hundreds of miles away to Cambridge."
GMB national officer Allan Black said: "There has been salami-slicing of jobs at this site but this is by far and away the largest slice of job losses at the site to date.
"Highly skilled and qualified workers will be put on the scrapheap."
At least 700 non-research and development roles are expected to remain at Alderley Park.
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said the plans will "accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making."
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