GMB and Unite have slammed the decision of Nestle to close two factories in England and cut 600 jobs, saying the move will “ruin hundreds of lives”.
Nestle’s decision to cut nearly 600 jobs from two sites in northern England has been slammed as “corporate greed” by trade unions GMB and Unite.
The Swiss-owned food company has announced the closure of its factory in Fawdon, Newcastle, which produces Fruit Pastilles, as well as job cuts from its plant in York, which makes Kit Kats.
The factory in Fawdon is now due to close at the end of 2023, which the loss of 475 jobs, while the cutbacks at the York facility will result in the loss of 98 jobs.
Nestle said the aim is to focus production in York and Halifax and that is plans to invest £20m into the York site to “increase production of KitKat in the city where the brand was first created in 1935.” Just over £9m will also be spent at Halifax to “take on the largest portion of Fawdon’s current production”, according to a Nestle spokesperson.
However, trade unions have criticised the decision to cut jobs, saying it amounted to “corporate greed at its worst”. GMB National Officer Ross Murdoch said: “To ruin hundreds of lives in a ruthless pursuit of profits, to the very workers who’ve kept the company going during a global pandemic, is sickening.
“Nestle is the largest food producer in the world, with astronomical profits. It can afford to treat workers right.
“Instead, they’ve allowed factories to deteriorate, outsourced production overseas and now slashed 600 jobs.
“It’s corporate greed at its worst – GMB and Unite will fight for every job.”
Unite have also spoken out about Nestle’s decision, labelling the move a “cruel body blow” to workers and calling for an urgent meeting with the company. Unite National Officer for the Food and Drink Industry, Joe Clarke said: “The news about Nestle’s plans for its respective sites in Newcastle and York is cruel body blow to the dedicated workforces, their families and, more widely, the regional economies.
“We will be asking for an urgent meeting with the management to ascertain the business rationale for these decisions from a multi-national company which is highly profitable.
“The fact these announcements have come during a global pandemic is particularly bitter and heartless.
“Unite will be liaising closely with the GMB union to strongly campaign against these misguided plans whose only motive seems to be increasing profits.
“We will also be giving maximum support to our members and their families in the coming weeks and months.”
The Fawdon factory due for closure originally opened in 1958 and currently produces 15 Nestle brands including Fruit Pastilles, Rolos and Matchmakers. A statement issued by Nestle said they would work with the local community to find ways to offer support, it read: “We do not underestimate the impact that the closure of Fawdon factory would have on the local area and, as part of the consultation, we want to work with the local community to find ways that we can support the area and our employees if these proposals were to go ahead.
“We believe that the business case behind these proposed changes is compelling and, ultimately, the best way to keep our business competitive in the long term.”
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