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GMB and Unite write to Britvic directors over Norwich jobs consultation concerns

PUBLISHED: 10:49 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:28 09 November 2017

Entrance to the Norwich Britvic factory. Picture: Nick Butcher

Entrance to the Norwich Britvic factory. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Britvic’s independent directors have been called on to intervene in the closure of the Robinson’s factory in Norwich.

Unions GMB and Unite have written to four non-executive directors to convey “deep concerns” about the potential closure of the site and the process which was taking place.

Last month Britvic revealed plans to close its Norwich factory in 2019, casting a doubt over the future of the Unilever-owned Colman’s Mustard factory which shares the site and facilities.

The unions said their members were sceptical of the rationale behind the move and considered a savings figure of £11-£14m as “very nebulous”.

The letter goes on to outline disappointment around the handling of the consultation process with the unions complaining detailed financial information has only been supplied to the consultative group this week.

The unions have asked non-executive directors Ian McHoul, Sue Clark, Ben Gordon and Euan Sutherland for a meeting to discuss the issues.

However, Britvic has said it is committed to a “full and proper consultation”.

Britvic employs 242 people in Norwich while Unilever has a further 113 workers on its part of the Carrow Works site.

Ivan Mercer, GMB regional officer, said: “There is a strong feeling that this process is being rushed, and that there has not been any meaningful consultation with the workforce or their consultative group.”

He added: “Members at the factory are concerned that there are a number of conflicting answers to simple questions, and they fear the consultation will be closed the Friday before the company annual results are released on the Monday.”

Unite national officer for food and drink, Julia Long said: “Unite has very serious concerns that the legal process is not being followed in an open and transparent manner, hence the letter to the independent directors.”

A Britvic spokesman said: “It would not be appropriate to comment further on the specific detail of the consultation while it is on-going.

“We have proactively engaged with local community leaders since the start of the consultation process, and both local MPs – Chloe Smith and Clive Lewis – have had the opportunity to meet employees at the site.”

A petition to save the factories, launched by this newspaper, has received more than 11,000 
signatures.

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