French lingerie and hosiery specialist Dim is set to axe 450 jobs - close to 20% of its global workforce.

The firm, which also manufactures the Playtex brand, had been braced for the cutbacks since late last week when it was informed by parent company Dim Branded Apparel (DBApparel) of plans to shed 950 jobs in Europe by the end of 2007.

Dim's production plant in Château-Chinon, which makes stockings and tights and employs 95 staff, will be closed. The biggest of its four plants, in Autun, will shed 220 staff while there will also an unspecified number of job cuts at Playtex which employs a 315-strong workforce in France.  

A union official said that 250 of Dim's staff could benefit from early retirement measures but this figure has not been confirmed by the management.  

DB Apparel employs a total of 6,500 staff in Europe and 12,000 worldwide. It has around 1,000 staff in Spain and also has production activities in Italy and the UK.

A spokesman for the European Trade Union Federation: Textiles, Clothing, Leather   (Etuf TCL) said it appeared the company was relocating and sub-contracting more and more production outside of Europe.

By Stuart Todd