Unions offer renewed environmental concerns over Nestlé plans to close Fawdon UK production plant

27/11/17 Nestlé's factory at Fawdon, Newcastle Upon Tyne. All Rights Reserved F Stop Press Ltd. +44 (0)1335 344240 +44 (0)7765 242650 www.fstoppress.com

UK workers unions GMB and Unite have raised further concerns over proposals to close Nestle’s Fawdon site near Newcastle, stating that shifting production elsewhere and overseas to the Czech Republic for British consumers would significantly increase the company’s carbon footprint, writes Neill Barston.

The two organisations criticised the major confectionery business for handing out vegan fruit pastilles at COP26 – while planning to make 47 workers who make them, redundant at the North East location, which is due to close in 2023.

However, as previously reported by Confectionery Production, the business has stated that the move has come in response to challenging business conditions and a wider drive for greater levels of automation in its operations.

According to the unions, Fruit Pastille production will then be moved to the Czech Republic – but the sweets will be transported back to this country for consumption by the UK market, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the company’s carbon footprint.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said: “Our members are disgusted Nestle would use products they make to boost its green credentials– while planning behind the scenes to move their jobs to Eastern Europe”. “It’s crass, underhanded and insensitive.

“Moving production to the Czech Republic is clearly bad news for UK manufacturing; so much for Brexit retaining jobs and bringing jobs home. “But as Fruit Pastilles are consumed by the UK market and will have to transported back from Eastern Europe by road and sea, it will massively increase Nestle’s carbon footprint by adding greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants into the environment.

Joe Clarke, Unite National Officer, said:  “On the backdrop of the immense commitments throughout covid and with most employers repatriating volumes post-Brexit this course of action by Nestle is a model when put into context the current COP 26 conference, to try and gain mileage for vegan pastilles when in reality they are increasing transportation by producing these products abroad and bringing them back to the UK is hypocritical.”

Peter Schmidt, European Trade Union President for Nestle, added it was ‘not acceptable’ that a total of 475 key roles would be lost, as the company was in fact making profit. As his colleagues asserted, the move would be likely to increase the company’s environmental footprint in terms of extending the logistics chain.

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