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Buyer is still needed for main Somerset cider mill sit...

Buyer is still needed for main Somerset cider mill site, as Brothers Drinks purchases bottling line

04 April 2016

There is still a need for a buyer for the main site at the Shepton Mallet Cider Mill, despite the news today (Monday 4 April) that Brothers Drinks is taking over a bottling line, Unite, the country’s largest union, said.

The bottling line, which cost an estimated £6m and has never been used, is across the road from the main Kilver Street site where more than 120 jobs remain under threat.

Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy said: “While we are pleased that the line has been sold to the makers of Brothers Cider, also based in Shepton Mallet, there is still an urgent need for a buyer for the main site.

“We are pleased that that there will be an unspecified number of new jobs working on the Brothers line - these are totally new jobs with this company. However, it does not resolve the issue that 127 workers at the profitable Shepton Mallet Cider Mill face being made redundant at the end of the summer.

“The £6m bottling line was meant to be the saviour of the cider mill – the fact that it is being sold sums up the incompetence of the Irish-based owners C&C Group in the mismanagement of its Shepton Mallet operation. Ironically, it still managed to post about £81 million in profits overall.

“We wish Brothers Drinks well in the expansion of its production capability and hope it can employ as many dedicated cider workers as possible in the future.”

Last week the C&C Group stopped the production of the Somerset ciders Addlestones, Blackthorn, Natch and Olde English. Production will now be at Clonmel in the Irish Republic.

A recent trading update from the company expected the operating profit across its operations for the 12 months to 29 February 2016 to be in the region of €103 million. Results for the year will be announced on 11 May.

The cider mill is due to close in the summer when production ceases and the pulped fruit is transported to Ireland – the first 40 redundancies have already been announced.
 
ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact: Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy on 07764 467443

Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: shaun.noble@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.