The union claimed that the 298 jobs could be saved by the one-off cash injection during consultation talks with Nestlé. The global confectionery giant is valued at about £176bn, the union claimed, while Nestlé UK reported an £86M profit in its latest financial update.
The union urged the government to act now to save the Nestlé jobs, after the manufacturer revealed plans in April to move its iconic Blue Riband production to Poland.
Already been in talks with Nestlé
The calls for government action came after Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) minister Claire Perry revealed on Monday (July 3) that the government had already been in talks with Nestlé over the planned move to Poland.
GMB national officer Eamon O’Hearn said: “If government ministers met and knew about the job losses at Nestlé UK as far back as April, it begs more questions – what did this government know, and why hasn’t it acted already to stop these manufacturing job losses?
“Why did they stay silent during the election and not stand up for these workers and their communities? We will be working with MPs to push for answers and action. UK manufacturing workers deserve better, especially when they see Nestlé investing millions in Spanish sites to renovate production lines.”
Nestlé UK said the planned changes would ensure its sites operated more efficiently and remained competitive.
‘The most complex of our confectionery factories’
Responding to the GMB’s claims, a Nestlé spokeswoman said: “The reality is Fawdon is the most complex of our confectionery factories with the facilities to produce everything from biscuits and soft wafer-based biscuits to chocolate singles, sharing bags, sugar confectionery and seasonal products.
“We are proposing to simplify the operation at the Fawdon factory by moving the production of Blue Riband to our factory at Kargowa in Poland, which is one of Nestlé’s global centres of confectionery excellence with existing capacity to produce the soft wafer Blue Riband requires. This will reduce the number of technologies that Fawdon needs to maintain.”
Workers facing job cuts were based in Fawdon, Tyne and Wear; York, North Yorkshire; Halifax, Yorkshire; and Girvan, Scotland. Nestlé said it wanted to standardise shift patterns at each of its factories, while Blue Riband production would be moved away from Fawdon.
- 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
Sources: GMB and Unite unions