Page last updated at 19:56 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Tea job losses condemned by union

More than 260 jobs are to go

Union bosses have condemned plans to close a tea packaging factory on Tyneside, with the loss of 263 jobs, as a "kick in the teeth" for workers.

Twinings wants to close its plant in North Shields and focus on production facilities in China and eastern Europe.

The company has pledged that no jobs will be lost until September 2011 and has begun consulting with staff.

But the union Usdaw said the news had been greeted with shock and disappointment by the workforce.

The North Shields factory, which produces about 15 million tea bags a year, opened in the early 1990s.

But Twinings, part of the Associated British Foods group, says it needs to have packing plants closer to its main markets in Asia and Europe.

Peter Willetts, head of manufacturing, 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."

Jayne Shotton, area organiser of Usdaw, said: "This has come as a huge blow to the workforce, many of whom have been with Twinings a long time.

"We are really disappointed at the company's plans, because the site at North Shields has been extremely productive.

"We have to listen to the company's full business case, but we are hoping to persuade them to remain."

Print Sponsor

Twinings to lay off more workers
03 Nov 09 |  Hampshire
Tea firm planning 263 jobs losses
02 Nov 09 |  Tyne

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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES Twinings consults on packing site closure - 5 hrs ago
News Guardian Over 260 jobs could be lost at borough factory - 9 hrs ago
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