Nestlé has announced that its confectionery factory in Newcastle will close with the loss of 474 jobs.
The global food maker said it was in talks with employees at the Fawdon plant, but now the focus is on closing it by 2023. A spokeswoman said most of the current production in the North East would be moved to Halifax, West Yorkshire.
The GMB and Unite unions condemned the move, saying closing “a factory for profit” was “unacceptable”. The future of the old Rowntree plant has been in doubt since Nestlé announced in April that it wanted to end production at the site.
Fawdon has been producing confectionery since 1958 but, according to the unions, the production of Fruit Pastilles will be moved to the Czech Republic and Toffee Crisps will be made in Poland. In recent years the factory has made other popular brands such as Rolos, Munchies and Matchmakers.
Ross Murdoch, GMB Country Officer, said: “Closing this lucrative site and moving production to Europe is completely unacceptable. This will have a devastating impact on workers and their families.”
The union claimed that moving production to mainland Europe “will result in a significant amount of additional road and sea miles, increasing pollution and environmental damage” when transporting goods to the UK for consumption. GMB and Unite will now talk to members in Fawdon and find out what they want to do next. We will give them the support and resources they need to fight this,” added Murdoch.
Joe Clarke, national officer for Unite, said: “Our members are deeply disappointed that alternative proposals to keep the site open within Nestle Fawdon have been rejected. We are currently seeking more information regarding the proposal and will enter into a dialogue on next steps imminently. Nestlé employs more than 8,000 people in the UK and Ireland at 18 sites, including 14 factories.