Nestle closing Fawdon factory

Nestle has announced its confectionery factory in Newcastle is to shut with the loss of 474 jobs.

The global food manufacturer said it was holding talks with employees at the Fawdon plant but the focus was now on closing it in 2023.

A spokeswoman said the majority of production currently in the North East would move to Halifax, West Yorkshire.

The GMB and Unite unions condemned the move and said closing “a profit-making factory” was “unacceptable”.

The future of the former Rowntree plant had been in doubt since Nestle announced in April that it wanted to end production at the site.

Fawdon has been producing confectionery since 1958 but, according to unions, the manufacture of Fruit Pastilles will switch to the Czech Republic and Toffee Crisps will be made in Poland.

In recent years the factory has made other popular brands like Rolos, Munchies and Matchmakers.

In a statement, Nestle said: “From the outset we wanted to provide adequate time and space for these discussions and it is only right that they are held directly with our employees and trade unions and not in public.

“It remains a priority to support our people and their families through this process and we thank everybody for their patience.”

Ross Murdoch, GMB national officer, said: “Closing this profit-making site and shifting production to Europe is completely unacceptable.

“This will have a devastating impact on workers and their families.”

The union claimed moving production to mainland Europe “will result in significant additional road and sea miles, increasing pollution and environmental damage” when transporting goods to the UK for consumption.

“GMB and Unite will now speak to members in Fawdon and find out what they want to do next. We will give them whatever support and resources they need to fight this,” Murdoch added.

Joe Clarke, national officer for Unite, said: “Our membership is bitterly disappointed that alternative proposals to keep the site within Nestle Fawdon open have been rejected

“We are currently seeking further information in relation to the proposal and we will enter into dialogue on next steps imminently.”

Nestle employs more than 8 000 people in the UK and Ireland across 18 sites, including 14 factories. (BBC)

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