The unacceptable face of cider-making capitalism showed its ugly side when the owners of Shepton Mallet Cider Mill, where 120 jobs are at risk, announced a profit forecast of €103 million.
Unite, the country’s largest union, denounced the trading update from the Dublin-based C&C Group as ‘another kick in the teeth for a dedicated workforce’ at the profitable Somerset site.
A 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. Trading in the last quarter provides ‘grounds for optimism’. Results for the year will be announced on 11 May.
The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is due to close in the summer when production, including well-known brands such as Blackthorn and Olde English, ceases and the pulped fruit is transported to Ireland – the first 40 redundancies were announced earlier this month.
Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy said: “The insatiable appetite to build the bottom line is the only consideration in a world, driven by accountants obsessed with only profits, with no care for the company’s wider social responsibilities.
“Ironically, the Shepton Mallet plant is a profitable site and its employees have contributed greatly to the €103 million forecast.
“What is happening is the unacceptable face of capitalism – a capitalism that cares nothing for workers’ welfare or the surrounding communities. This multinational business has shown no loyalty or guilt in ending a cider-making heritage stretching back in Shepton Mallet to 1770.
“Unite repeats its call today (Tuesday 15 March) for the management to accelerate its efforts to find a buyer for the site. The fact that the C&C Group is highly profitable gives it plenty of time to find such a buyer – there is no need for a fire sale.
“Any such sale would be greatly assisted if the company agreed to sell the brands, as well as the site itself.
“The brands and the site would make a very attractive package for a potential buyer at this already profitable site with an enthusiastic and dedicated workforce.”
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: 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.