The company says that the UK plant it plans to close in Fawdon is “home to many smaller, low-growth brands”, and that it will invest elsewhere
Nestlé is set to make almost 600 people redundant as it closes a UK factory and moves some of its production to the European Union.
Fawdon is set to close “towards the end of 2023”, the company added.
The company said that it was making the announcement “as early as possible” to provide “the maximum time for consultation” with colleagues and trade unions.
This comes after sales of milk and cream from the UK to the EU are down an extraordinary 96%, with chicken and beef sales down by almost 80%, because of Brexit, new figures have shown.
In total, 573 job roles are “at risk, subject to consultation”. Most of those, 475, are at Fawdon, with a further 98 at a factory in York.
Nestlé described Fawdon as being the “home to many smaller, low-growth brands” and is a factory with a “diverse and complex mix of production techniques”.
“In contrast, our factories at York and Halifax have clearer specialisms and manufacture some of Nestlé’s biggest brands,” the company added.
It said that it plans to invest £20.2m into York to “modernise and increase production of KitKat in the city where the brand was first created in 1935”.
A further £9.2m will also be invested in Halifax in order to “equip the factory to take on the largest portion of Fawdon’s current production”.
York is currently the base of Nestlé Confectionery’s global R&D centre, while the factory in Halifax, which has been in use for well over a century, will “become even more important”, the company has said.
This decision to “propose Fawdon’s closure” follows both investment and efforts to reduce the production’s complexity while bringing in more products, it added.
This comes after Britons’ prospects of booking a holiday abroad this summer have been given a boost, with the UK government saying that COVID passports will become available “as soon as possible”.
Staff have “worked tirelessly to deliver those changes and these proposals are absolutely no reflection on their efforts”, the company said in a statement.
GMB national officer Ross Murdoch said: “To ruin hundreds of lives in a ruthless pursuit of profits, to the very workers who’ve kept the company going during a global pandemic, is sickening.
“Nestle is the largest food producer in the world, with astronomical profits. It can afford to treat workers right.
“Instead, they’ve allowed factories to deteriorate, outsourced production overseas and now slash almost 600 jobs.”