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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
TV sauce man threat over factory
Levi Roots
Mr Roots is unhappy at the decision to move work to Poland
The businessman behind a spicy sauce, which featured on BBC's Dragons' Den programme has criticised the decision to close a factory which makes it.

A total of 151 workers at G Costa at Abercarn, Caerphilly, as well as 28 at Newtown, Powys will lose their jobs.

London chef and entrepreneur Levi Roots said he would "pull" his business if work moved to Poland.

The company said it needed to secure its long term future by moving to a lower cost manufacturing base.

The speciality and ethnic food company, which makes a number of products, recently took on work to produce Reggae Reggae Sauce, which won backing from judges on the BBC's Dragons' Den programme.

'Distressed'

Mr Roots' idea, based on his grandmother's recipe, saw him sing a reggae song to impress the panel on the programme.

He told BBC Radio Wales: "I will pull my business from any company making Reggae Reggae sauce if they are saying they have got to move to Poland because of their problems and I will find somewhere else in the UK to make it."

G Costa at Abercarn
We can only sustain our business in the longer term by moving to a lower cost manufacturing operation
Andrew Mayhew, G Costa

After hearing of Mr Roots' threat, a G Costa spokesman said they could not comment further because they were in a 90-day consultation period with staff over the closure.

Richard Plaster, an engineer who has worked for the company and its predecessors since 1962, said people in Abercarn were distressed by news of the closure.

"The managing director came down and told us that we've done well, we're making a profit, we've done very well over the last two years - but we can get it for a third cheaper in Poland," he said.

"It was a family business when I started out, and to me it's more about accountants making money.

"I think they're hypnotised into the fact that they're going to Poland; I don't think anything will change their view"

G Costa managing director Andrew Mayhew said: "Proposals of this sort are never easy".

'Effort'

The company, which is part of the giant Associated British Foods group, said it was proposed that both factories would close in spring 2008.

Mr Mayhew added: "It in no way reflects the commitment and effort of our teams at both sites.

"However, the reality is that we can only sustain our business in the longer term by moving to a lower cost manufacturing operation with more flexibility to make a wider range of products than our current factories will allow."

He said the company intended to do "everything possible" to minimise the impact on workers.

Welsh assembly government officials have spoken with the company and will be meeting to discuss any offers of support it can provide.


SEE ALSO
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19 Apr 06 |  Business
Heinz buys HP sauce in 470m deal
20 Jun 05 |  Business

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