Trade union GMB has claimed that Nestlé could keep 300 jobs manufacturing the Blue Riband wafer bar, which it was supposedly planning to move to Poland, in the UK for “just £1m”.
However the global conglomerate, worth around £176bn, has said GMB has its wires crossed.
Rather than moving 300 jobs to Poland, it had actually announced 298 redundancies – and only 80 of these resulted from the Blue Riband operations which were due to be shifted to Poland.
Nestlé said the proposed changes are “mainly to shift patterns across our confectionery factories to reflect changing production requirements”, and it hoped the redundancies resulting from the move in location for Blue Riband “would be achieved on a voluntary basis”.
“All proposals are still under consultation,” a spokesperson added, and declined to give any more details regarding GMB's figures.
The spokesperson also added that the cost-cutting measures were not being motivated by activist investor Third Point, which announced last month it would be aiming to make changes at Nestlé.
Most of the Blue Riband redundancies will be made from the Fawdon factory, which the company is hoping to simplify.
“Fawdon is the most complex of our confectionery factories, with the facilities to produce everything from biscuits and soft wafer-based biscuits to chocolate singles, sharing bags, sugar confectionery and seasonal products,” said the spokesperson.
Moving the soft wafer operations would “reduce the number of technologies that Fawdon needs to maintain”.
But GMB national officer Eamon O’Hearn attributed the job losses to the lack of “guarantees on Brexit” given by the government to businesses.
“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,” he said.