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Colman’s Mustard factory in Norwich could shut after Britvic announces closure plans

PUBLISHED: 10:35 03 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:20 03 October 2017

Colman's Mustard made by Unilever.

Colman's Mustard made by Unilever. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

The maker of Colman’s Mustard has announced it could close its Norwich factory in the wake of Britvic’s proposed withdrawal from the site they share.

If production of the famous product were to leave Norwich, it would break a link dating back more than 200 years.

The news comes just hours after Britvic confirmed that more than 240 jobs had been put at risk by plans to stop production at its Bracondale factory.

READ MORE: More than 200 jobs at risk as Britvic announces plans to close Norwich factory

READ MORE: Business leaders pledge their support following Britvic and Unilever’s factory announcements

Unilever said it would be speaking to its 113 employees at the site, and was aiming to have reached a decision by the end of November.

A spokesman said: “Britvic and Unilever’s operations have been uniquely intertwined at the site for many years, relying on a shared infrastructure.

“Although no decisions have been made, we need to recognise that Britvic’s proposed withdrawal would have serious implications for Unilever in Norwich.

“The review will look in detail at the impact of Britvic’s proposed withdrawal from the site and will consider options for the most effective sourcing of the current Norwich product range.

“One of those options will include the potential closure of our Norwich factory. Colman’s has been an important part of Norwich and the surrounding area for more than 200 years and, whatever the outcome of the review, we will work hard to retain this link. We remain firmly committed to UK manufacturing.

“We recognise this review will cause concern for our Norwich employees, suppliers and the local community. We’re committed to treating our employees and suppliers fairly, and providing support during this difficult time.”

Union Unite has raised concerns about the future of the Unilever site and called on Norfolk to encourage the Colman’s brand to remain in Norwich.

Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: “The sad news that Britvic is closing its operations in Norwich also has an impact on Unilever workers who the share the same site.

“This is very painful news for our members and their families at Britvic and we will be giving the maximum support to our members at what is a very difficult time in the days and weeks ahead.

“The Unilever has today announced a review of the whole site to be concluded by the end of November. Everything is up for review including expanding its operations, selling part of the site and, more worryingly, closure.

“The iconic Colman’s Mustard has been produced at the same factory since the 1860s.

“Unite will not only be seeking assurances, but applying pressure with the support of the local community, that the production and the much-needed jobs that are vital for the Norwich economy remain. Anything else won’t cut the mustard.

“The whole of Norfolk needs to come together to fight for the future of Colman’s Mustard that is so identified with the city of Norwich. Colman’s is in the DNA of the city.”

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