Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Walkers crisp factory in County Durham to shut - PepsiCo

PepsiCo has announced plans to close its Walkers crisp factory in County Durham at the end of the year, placing almost 400 jobs at risk.
The US food firm's statement blamed an "efficiency" drive that would see production shifted to other existing sites in the UK.

It said the proposals would affect 355 manufacturing jobs and a further 25 people in its transport operations but a union said it would "challenge" the move.

PepsiCo said: "In order to improve the efficiency of our UK snacks manufacturing operations, we are proposing the closure of our factory at Peterlee.

"Crisps currently produced at the site would be manufactured at our other facilities in the UK.

"Peterlee has been an important site for our business but the changes we are proposing present significant productivity and efficiency savings crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of our business in the UK."

A local MP, Grahame Morris, took to Twitter after the decision was announced to describe it as a "bitter blow" for the area.

The factory is understood to have been one of the town's largest employers.
Tracey Foster, PepsiCo's UK manufacturing director, said: "We appreciate this is upsetting news for everyone at the Peterlee site.

"It is a difficult proposal for us to put forward and we want to make clear that it in no way reflects the performance of our colleagues at Peterlee, who we are grateful to for their hard work and commitment.

"No decisions will be made without first consulting employees and their representatives. We would also like to reassure colleagues that we will be providing on-going support and assistance from this point onwards."

Michael Hunt, the regional organiser for the GMB union, blamed a lack of Government investment for the decision.

He said: "It wasn't long ago that the Government said they wanted to reinvigorate the region and inject business into the North East but the opposite appears to be true.

"For want of a better phrase, this isn't the Northern Powerhouse, it's the Northern Poorhouse."

SKY     News.