Nestlé’ has decided to shut a UK confectionery plant lined up last year for closure, union officials have claimed.

Last April, the company announced a proposal to shut the site, located in Fawdon, close to Newcastle, toward the end of 2023. At the time, Nestlé said under the plans production would be switched to other UK factories such as a facility in Halifax and other plants in Europe.

The GMB union said the decision to end manufacturing at the Fawdon site was “completely unacceptable”.

Ross Murdoch, a national officer at GMB, said: “Closing this profit-making site and shifting production to Europe is completely unacceptable. This will have a devasting impact on workers and their families.

He added: “Transporting finished products from sites in Europe back to the UK – where they are consumed – will result in significant additional road and sea miles, increasing pollution and environmental damage.”

The Unite union has also weighed in. National officer Joe Clarke said: “Unite and its membership are bitterly disappointed that alternative proposals to keep the site within Nestlé Fawdon open have been rejected. We are currently seeking further information in relation to the proposal, and we will enter into dialogue on [the] next steps imminently.”

At Fawdon, Nestlé makes sugar confectionery sold under the brands Fruit Pastilles, Fruit Gums and Jelly Tots. The site also manufactures a range of chocolate products marketed under brands including Rolo, Toffee Crisp and Munchies.

However, when approached by Just Food, Nestlé said the company is still working through consultations with employees.

A spokesperson said in a statement: “The consultation around the changes we proposed in April 2021 is still ongoing. We said from the outset that we wanted to provide adequate time and space for these discussions and it is only right that they are held directly with our employees and trade unions and not in public.

“It remains a priority to support our people and their families through this process and we thank everybody for their patience. We will provide an update once the consultation is complete.”

The spokesperson also declined to comment on union claims about where production from Fawdon would end up. The GMB suggested production of Fruit Pastilles and Jelly Tots would move to the Czech Republic. The union also claimed the manufacturing of Toffee Crisp will be transferred to Poland.

Last April, Nestlé said a total of GBP29.4m would be funneled into the plants in York and Halifax, with the latter receiving GBP9.2m, to support the company’s “long-term success in an increasingly competitive category”. Some 98 jobs were also set to go at the KitKat factory in York.