Nestle has refused to be drawn on UK union claims spending of GBP1m would mean manufacturing of Blue Riband biscuits could be kept in the country – but the company has defended its plan to move production and the wider changes it is planning to make to its local confectionery business.

Earlier today (5 July), the GMB union said “a one-off capital investment of just over GBP1m” would mean Nestle could continue making the UK-centric Blue Riband brand in the UK and not move production to Poland as the world’s largest food maker had proposed in April.

The GMB said the amount of investment needed to retain Blue Riband manufacturing the UK came to light during “consultation meetings” with Nestle.

The union claimed the investment could also “save” almost 300 jobs it said Nestle plans to cut from its wider UK confectionery operations. When Nestle announced its proposals in April, the company said the “efficiency” programme would lead to the loss of 298 jobs across four plants.

Speaking to just-food, Nestle declined to comment on the GMB claim on investment but said shifting production of Blue Riband from its site in the UK town of Fawdon to Kargowa in Poland would help “simplify” the running of the UK plant.

“The reality is 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. We are proposing to simplify the operation at Fawdon factory by moving the production of Blue Riband to our factory at Kargowa in Poland which is one of Nestle’s global centres of confectionery excellence with existing capacity to produce the soft wafer Blue Riband requires. This will reduce the number of technologies that Fawdon needs to maintain,” Nestle said. “We wouldn’t discuss any further detail involved in the ongoing consultation as we are holding it on a private and confidential basis.”

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