Nestlé has outlined changes it plans to make to the factory operations within its UK confectionery business, which are likely to lead to the loss of almost 300 jobs.
The group said the proposals span four of its sites – York, Fawdon, Halifax and Girvan – and may result in a reduction of 298 roles, predominantly at York and Fawdon, through this year and next. However, Nestlé stressed that it hopes to achieve the cut jobs through voluntary redundancies.
The changes include amended and standardised shift patterns at each factory and, at Fawdon, the transfer of production of its Blue Riband brand to a Nestlé factory in Poland. The group said the move would allow it to “simplify and focus” its operations at Fawdon.
Nestlé denied the proposals were anything to do with Brexit, adding that the changes were being made to ensure that these UK sites operated more “efficiently and remained competitive in a rapidly changing external environment”.
Unions representing affected workers expressed their anger at the decision. 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.”
She added: “We will be campaigning to save as many jobs as possible and pressing Nestlé to think again about these plans.”
Meanwhile, Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, commented: “To shift the production of an iconic British brand like Blue Riband to Poland is completely unacceptable. 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 workersacross the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”