Unite says C&C must find buyer for Shepton Mallet Cider Mill
Irish multinational must repay loyalty of Somerset workforce
Trade union Unite, which represents over 1.4 million members in Britain and Ireland, today (Wednesday 13 April) urged the Dublin-based drinks giant C&C to find a buyer for its Shepton Cider Mill in Somerset, which is set to close this summer with the loss of 120 jobs.
The closure follows C&C’s decision to move production to Clonmel, where around 80 jobs are expected to be created.
Warning that the closure of Shepton could spell the end to a 246-year tradition of cider-making, Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy said that iconic brands, such as Blackthorn and Olde English, coupled with a highly-skilled and motivated workforce should make the profitable Shepton site an attractive proposition for a buyer.
Steve Preddy said: “Since buying the plant in 2009, C&C has profited from the association with Shepton, which has been synonymous with cider-making for centuries.
“It is unacceptable that the company should now decide to divest itself of the plant and its loyal workforce without a backward glance.
“Communities throughout Ireland have suffered the consequences of multi-nationals pulling out, leaving devastated communities in their wake.
“Unite members are therefore particularly disappointed that an Irish multi-national, such as C&C, should be effectively discarding not only the Shepton facility and its workforce, but also the long tradition of cider-making which made Shepton such an attractive location in the first place.
“We are calling on C&C to repay the loyalty and hard work of the Shepton workforce by finding a buyer to take on the main Shepton site as a going concern – thus preserving a tradition of cider-making in the town stretching back to 1770.
“We believe that iconic brands, combined with a highly-skilled and motivated workforce, would make Shepton a very attractive proposition for a buyer.”
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 (about £81 million). Full year results will be officially announced on 11 May. The company’s annual general meeting is set for 7 July.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact: Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy on (+44) 7764 467443
Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on (+44) 20 3371 2060 or (+44) 7768 693940. Email: firstname.lastname@example.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.