The MPs signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) – a proposal for a House of Commons debate – to try to save the 298 jobs, according to the Unite and the GMB unions. The MPs called on the government to intervene, and work with Nestlé to prevent further job cuts, after the manufacturer revealed plans to standardise shift patterns at four of its UK factories.
Unite national officer for the food industry Julia Long said: “Momentum is growing in the campaign to keep these Nestlé jobs in the UK – we should be exporting chocolate and not jobs.
“This latest development shows that it is not just the unions fighting for these vital UK manufacturing jobs, but prospective parliamentary candidates and the communities they represent as the general election campaign gathers pace.”
Prevent the job cuts
The EDM came after last week Prime Minister Theresa May failed to give assurances that the government would intervene, to try to prevent the job cuts.
Speaking in the House of Commons on April 26, May said: “Nestlé has itself been clear that this is not a decision that was affected by leaving the EU — it says it has made it irrespective of that — but, of course it is a worrying time for the workers and their families at Nestlé in both York and Newcastle.
“The Department for Work and Pensions of course stands ready to put in place its rapid response service to support any workers made redundant by helping them back into employment as quickly as possible, and there are various ways in which Jobcentre Plus can help.”
Responding to May’s comments Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the lack of compassion and fairness shown by the prime minister. It is appalling that rather than try to avert these job losses and safeguard future jobs at Nestlé, the prime minister shrugs her shoulder and says that people can go to the Jobcentre.
‘Not prepared to do anything to help’
“She acknowledges ‘it’s a worrying time for workers and their families’ but she’s not prepared to do anything to help them.”
Nestlé UK revealed its plans last month to cut jobs at its York, Fawdon, Halifax and Girvan factories. Its iconic Blue Riband chocolate bar production would be moved to Poland from Fawdon.
At the time, 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.”
No-one from Nestlé was available to comment on the EDM.
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