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Britvic independent directors

Unite calls on Britvic independent directors to intervene in closure of Robinsons factory in Norwich

07 November 2017

Unite and GMB have written to the independent directors of Britvic plc and copied to the company calling on them to meet community and workforce representatives and halt the proposed closure of the Norwich site.

The unions want the independent directors to hear first-hand from workers and the community their concerns for jobs in their community and the local economy.

Robinsons has been produced in Norwich for 92 years and is worth £38m in goodwill to Britvic and - along with Colmans - is synonymous with Norwich.

The unions have raised a number of concerns about the consultation process, many of which remain unanswered, and have asked for them to be raised in Parliament as well.

The letter has been sent to Ian McHoul, senior independent director and independent non-executive directors Sue Clark, Ben Gordon and Euan Sutherland.

Unite national officer for food and drink Julia Long said: “Britvic needs to come forward with full answers to our members’ concerns about the reasoning for the closure proposal – it should not be forgotten that 240 jobs are at stake.

“There has been no meaningful consultation by the company to date, even though the announcement was made on 3 October.

“Unite has very serious concerns that the legal process is not being followed in an open and transparent manner, hence the letter to the independent directors. The company bosses need to talk to the unions, the workforce and the local community.

“Our membership deserve better than this from a company for whom they have worked hard to earn good profits for Britvic over many years. 

“We are going to campaign strongly so that Britvic remains in Norwich and the closure proposal is reversed. Norwich can ill-afford to lose this number of jobs.”

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional organiser said: “The company need to pause, reflect and listen to the concerns of the workers and local community.

"Thousands of people have signed petitions to keep Robinsons in Norwich and this cannot just be ignored. Questions have been raised by the local MP, council and in parliament.

"There is a strong feeling that this process is being rushed, and that there has not been any meaningful consultation with the workforce or their consultative group.

"The company have admitted to withholding from the consultative group a key report into the site operations. They have also taken more than four weeks just to share critical financial information with the consultative group.

"Members at the factory are concerned that there are a number of conflicting answers to simple questions, and they fear the consultation will be closed the Friday before the company annual results are released on the Monday.

"The unions are amazed that Britvic are prepared to throw away the legacy of Robinsons to save, at best, one per cent of their annual turnover, before taking into account the likely loss of goodwill assets.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.