The possible closure of the Britvic factory in Chelmsford, Essex, and sites in Huddersfield and Belfast, with the possible total loss of 290 jobs was described as ‘a bitter blow’ for the workforce and the local economies by Unite, the largest union in the country, today (Wednesday 22 May).
Unite is due to hold talks next week with the management with the aim of keeping the Widford factory in Chelmsford open, where there are 230 jobs under threat, and to safeguard the employment of the workers.
Unite officers in Yorkshire and Northern Ireland are expected to hold similar talks in the near future.
Britvic, which makes such iconic brands as Robinsons, Pepsi and Tango, announced today that it wanted to close the Chelmsford site next year as part of plans to merge its UK and Irish operations.
The plans also include the closure of its Pennine Spring water factory in Huddersfield with 40 job losses and a warehouse in Belfast employing 20 staff.
Unite national officer for food and drink Jennie Formby said: “The threat to the jobs at the three sites is a very bitter blow for the workers and their families. We want to analyse the company’s statement fully and consult with our members.
“It should be remembered that this is a very profitable company and could well afford to keep all these existing operations going.
“Unite will be doing all it can in the coming weeks to support our members through this difficult period.”
Unite regional officer in Essex Dave Turnbull said: “We are holding talks with management next week with the aim to strongly make the case to keep the Chelmsford site open and to safeguard the jobs of our members.”
For further information please contact Unite regional officers Dave Turnbull (Chelmsford) on 07980 721 427, Maurice Cunningham (Belfast) on 07718 907 719 and Sarah Mitchell (Huddersfield) 07967 665549 or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.