Shepton Mallet Cider Mill to close – 127 job losses

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

Owner C&C Group plans to move cider production to Ireland
Owner C&C Group plans to move cider production to Ireland

Related tags: Shepton mallet, Gaymer cider company

Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is to close with the loss of 127 jobs as its owner C&C Group moves production to Ireland.

Unite the union slammed C&C for announcing the closure in a “Dickensian” ​fashion because workers first heard the bad news through media reports yesterday morning (January 12). 

Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy said: “It is disgraceful and Dickensian that this dedicated and loyal workforce should hear of the closure through the media. 

“It was only this afternoon ​[January 12] – hours later – that the shop stewards and workers were informed that the plant was closing.” 

Preddy said the union was seeking an urgent meeting with the management at what was a “traumatic time” ​for workers at the cider mill on Kilver Street in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. 

‘Historic cider production’ 

View from union

“This is a grievous blow to the workforce, their families, the town and the Somerset economy.”

  • Steve Preddy, regional coordinating officer, Unite

“There has been more than 240 years of cider production at Shepton Mallet, at a workplace that is synonymous with historic cider production in the south west – and now this is coming to an end,” ​he said. 

“This is a grievous blow to the workforce, their families, the town and the Somerset economy.”

C&C has announced plans to move production and packaging from sites in Shepton Mallet and Borrisoleigh in Ireland to its manufacturing site in Clonmel, Tipperary.

Under the plans, Clonmel will become the core site for Bulmers and Magners cider, Tipperary Water and a range of premium beers and ciders. C&C plans to invest €10M (£7.5M) in packaging and logistics capability in Clonmel, creating 80 extra roles.

“Regrettably, net roles lost across the operational network is estimated at 180 of which 127 are in the UK and 54 in Ireland,”​ the company said in a statement. 

‘Difficult decision for group’ 

“This has been a difficult decision for the group and it is sad that the consolidation of production at the Clonmel site is the only viable option to maintain long term competitiveness.

“C&C recognises the impact on employees and will work to provide support, training, and where possible, alternative employment.”

The fruit milling operation at Shepton Mallet will not been affected by the plans, while Borrisoleigh will remain as a transport and warehousing operation.  

The company said the three sites were running at just 34% capacity amid a competitive trading environment in the UK and Ireland. 

C&C posted a 9.5% decline in operating profit​ to €62.6M (£47M) in the six months to August 31 2015. 

Meanwhile, workers at the Gaymer Cider Company in Shepton Mallett, Somerset claimed victory in a pay dispute with C&C​ last year. 

Gaymer Cider is owned by the C&C Group – the world’s second largest cider maker. Its household brands include: Gaymers Original, Olde English and Blackthorn.

C&C announcement

“This has been a difficult decision for the group and it is sad that the consolidation of production at the Clonmel site is the only viable option to maintain long term competitiveness."

  • C&C statement

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