MPs have been gathering support for an Early Day Motion (EDM) in parliament to press United Biscuits (UB) to reconsider proposals to offshore its administrative and financial department to India, according to the Unite union.
The EDM was expected to be tabled as Food Manufacture went to press and as UB prepared to present the offshoring proposals to its board. Unite regional union officer Debbie Brannan, who met with several MPs in Westminster last month, was closely involved in the EDM campaign.
If it goes ahead, offshoring some of the work would result in about 170 job losses and the closure of UB's existing admin department located on Binns Road, Liverpool. According to Brannan, farming and food minister Jane Kennedy, MP for Liverpool, planned to write to UB urging it to reconsider its stance and conduct a full evaluation of the risks involved with offshoring.
"We are not just concerned about the jobs that will be lost, but also the risks that are involved," said Brannan. " This year UB reached a 98.3% target of paying its employees on time. If this administrative task is taken out of the country we feel there is a possibility that this target could decrease, having an impact on workers all over the country."
Unite has launched a petition in Liverpool in support of its campaign. So far it had raised over 3,000 signatures in favour of abandoning the plans, but the number is growing, it claimed.
While not denying the plans to offshore admin functions, a UB spokeswoman said the firm constantly reviewed operations to ensure they helped deliver sustainable growth. She said "no decisions have been made about any restructuring"