Workers in York, Fawdon, Halifax, and Girvan face job losses after Nestlé said it wanted to standardise shift patterns at each of its factories. Blue Riband chocolate bar production would be moved away from Fawdon.
A Nestlé statement said: “Nestlé UK is informing employees of proposals to make some changes to the factory operations within its UK confectionery business.
“These proposals are being made by Nestlé UK to ensure that these sites operate more efficiently and remain competitive in a rapidly changing external environment. Nestlé UK appreciates that this is an uncertain time for employees and will work hard to ensure all are supported through this difficult period.”
Britain’s largest unions, Unite and GMB, have issued a joint statement slamming the move.
The GMB union said the plan was “completely unacceptable”.
GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “To shift the production of an iconic British brand like Blue Riband to Poland is completely unacceptable. Nestlé are throwing people’s lives, and those of their families, into turmoil for the sake of increasing profit margins.
“These factories should be exporting chocolate – not people’s jobs. The government needs to step in before it’s too late – and reassure millions of workers across the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”
‘Tip of the Brexit iceberg’
GMB northern region Valerie Scott said: “This is yet another kick in the teeth for the north-east economy. Pillaging our jobs and shipping them overseas looks like the worst kind of Brexit imaginable.
“Under this government, it’s more the Northern Poorhouse than Northern Powerhouse.”
The Unite union said it would press Nestlé UK to rethink its plan to move Blue Riband production to Poland.
Unite national officer Julia Long said: “Rather than turning its back on its UK workforce, Nestlé should be investing in its UK operations and keeping production here at plants in the UK.
“Over the coming days we will be scrutinising the company’s business rationale for these jobs losses, and explore alternatives to its cut and run approach.”
The unions will campaign to save as many jobs as possible, they both said.
Nestlé planned job cuts, according to unions
- York, North Yorkshire – 143 jobs
- Fawdon, Tyne and Wear – 110 jobs
- Halifax, Yorkshire – 15 jobs
- Girvan, Scotland – 7 jobs
A number of other supply chain and technical jobs to be cut