New research has revealed £176 billion company Nestle could keep production of the Blue Riband in the UK for just £1 million.
Nestle announced it was going to move production of the iconic chocolate biscuit to Poland in April.
Some 300 jobs in Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland are jeopardy despite the biscuit been primarily consumed by the UK market – meaning it will have to be exported BACK into this country if production moves to Eastern Europe.
GMB is calling on the Government to act now to save the jobs, give UK manufacturing reassurances as Brexit looms and come clean on how much they knew about the job cuts back in April.
Nestle, a global confectionery giant, is worth £176 billion and is currently embarking on a £16 Billion share buyback scheme. Nestle UK alone made £86 million in profit last year.
On June 28, Shadow BEIS Minister Bill Esterson raised the question of when the Government will be meeting with Nestle UK representatives with the aim of stopping these potential job losses at Nestle UK and Blue Riband production.
The answer from Tory Minister Claire Perry on July 3 revealed that they were aware of the situation and had met with the company as early as April:
“The Secretary of State has discussed Nestlé’s UK jobs and investment outlook with the company’s management as recently as April 2017.”
Following the devastating job losses announced at Diageo and Pepsico in recent weeks, the unions warn this could be the tip of the Brexit iceberg as companies use leaving the EU as an excuse to slash jobs and trample on workers’ rights.
Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National Officer, said: “The job losses at food giants like Nestle UK and Pepsi Co are just the tip of the iceberg if companies are not given guarantees on Brexit from this Government, especially on any future trade tariffs.
“Losing nearly 700 jobs from the North East and York will have a devastating impact on workers, their families and the local economy.
“If Government Ministers met and knew about the job losses at Nestle UK as far back as April, it begs more questions – what did this Government know and why hasn’t it acted already to stop these manufacturing job losses?
“Why did they stay silent during the election and not stand up for these workers and their communities? “We will be working with MPs to push for answers and action.
“The UK food and drink industry is worth billions to our economy and employs nearly half a million people, so this Government cannot afford to sit on its hands and continue to do nothing.
“UK manufacturing workers deserve better, especially when they see Nestle investing millions in Spanish sites to renovate production lines.”