Nestlé proposes job cuts and Blue Riband move

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Confectionery giant Nestlé has proposed to make changes to the factory operations within its UK business, which could see nearly 300 jobs cut and production of Blue Riband moved to Poland.

The firm said the proposals span over four sites – York, Fawdon, Halifax and Girvan – and could result in a reduction of 298 roles, mainly at York and Fawdon through 2017 and 2018.

The proposed changes also include amended and standardised shift patterns at each factory and, at Fawdon, the transfer of Blue Riband production to a Nestlé factory in Poland.

“This would mean being able to simplify and focus Fawdon’s operation,” the firm said on its website.

“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.”

A 45-day consultation on these proposals is to be held. It is expected that a reduction in roles would be achieved through voluntary redundancies, it added.

The announcement has been criticised by Unite and GMB.

Julia Long, Unite national officer for the food industry, said: “We will be campaigning to save as many jobs as possible and pressing Nestlé to think again about these plans which will see the loss of hundreds of jobs and the production of an iconic biscuit shipped to Poland.

“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. Over the coming days we will be scrutinising the company’s business rationale for these jobs loses and explore alternatives to its cut and run approach.”

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, added: “To shift the production of an iconic British brand like Blue Riband to Poland is completely unacceptable. Nestlé are throwing people’s lives, and those of their families, into turmoil for the sake of increasing profit margins.

“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 workers across the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”