Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Twinings to lay off more workers

Twinings tea
The proposed redundancies would not take effect until 2011

Up to 129 people could lose their jobs at a Twinings manufacturing site in Hampshire, the tea company has said.

The move is part of plans to close its North Shields plant in Tyne and Wear - with the loss of 263 jobs - and upgrade its remaining UK production facilities.

The tea firm said the Andover operation would become its main UK site if the plan went ahead.

Under the proposals, production of tea destined for overseas markets would be moved to Poland and China.

The company, which is owned by Associated British Foods (ABF), has begun a staff consultation and said any redundancies would take effect in 2011.

As two-thirds of our sales are overseas, we need to locate our manufacturing operations in cost-effective locations

Marcus Cotter-Stone, Twinings

Twinings international supply director Marcus Cotter-Stone said: "This is a very difficult but necessary step which will allow Twinings to remain competitive in our markets worldwide and take full advantage of future growth opportunities.

"Under the current proposal, the Andover plant will take over production for the UK market because it has the capacity to support the long-term growth of Twinings' business in the UK.

"Whilst we have had some overseas manufacturing for decades, the majority of our tea is imported and packaged here in the UK prior to being re-exported and this is not efficient.

"As two-thirds of our sales are overseas, we need to locate our manufacturing operations in cost-effective locations, closer to markets.

"If the proposal is to go ahead, every effort will be made to support affected Andover employees including a retraining programme, outplacement support, opportunities for other roles within the ABF group, and enhanced redundancy packages."



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