Heinz’s plan to move production of the iconic British brand HP Sauce to the Netherlands has provoked vociferous criticism, with hundreds of people taking to the streets and marching in protest on Saturday (3 June) as part of an on-going campaign against the proposal to take production out of th UK.

“The march was a big success,” a spokesperson for the Transport and General Workers Union told just-food. “The weather was on our side and hundreds of people turned up to march through Aston [Birmingham] to the HP site.”

Delivering the keynote speech Jack Dromey, T&G deputy general secretary, said that HP had provided employment to Birmingham’s population for generations and should continue to do so.

The T&G maintain that when Heinz acquired HP from Danone, the company promised to keep production at the plant. Heinz has repeatedly denied this claim, with Heinz director of UK corporate and government affairs Nigel Dickie telling just-food that it is “simply untrue”.

However, a T&G spokesman responded, at the time of the acquisition the union issued a press release stating that no jobs were at risk – demonstrating that the perception at least was that production would remain in Birmingham. 

The T&G told just-food that it would take stock of Saturday, consulting with the local authority, politicians and the public, before scheduling further meetings with Heinz management. “We will continue to campaign to keep HP production in Birmingham,” a union official said.