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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 July 2006, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Dutch support HP Sauce campaign
HP sauce
Dutch workers will write to Heinz directors opposing the closure
Dutch workers are backing HP Sauce workers whose jobs could be transferred to the Netherlands.

Owners Heinz plan to close the historic factory in Aston, Birmingham, and transfer work to Elst with the loss of 125 jobs.

Union officials met the Dutch workers in Elst on Wednesday and urged them to not handle transferred work at the state-of-the-art factory.

Dutch workers now plan to present a petition at the Heinz UK headquarters.

John Jordan, from the Transport and General Workers' Union, who led the delegation, said: "It was a successful day.

Dutch support

"The workers in Holland didn't understand how Heinz had acted at Aston, they fully support the fact that the company has acted dishonourably."

He added that Dutch union officials would be writing to the company's directors in Europe expressing their "displeasure" with the factory closure and presenting a petition at the UK headquarters in Hayes, in London.

The UK delegation also gave civic leaders in Elst a petition signed by thousands of people from Birmingham opposed to the closure.

A union spokesman said the Dutch workers were considering the delegation's plea not to handle work from the Aston plant.

'Loaded gun'

Work at the Birmingham factory will start transferring to Elst from November with the plant due to close next year.

"I'm under no illusion. We don't expect workers in Holland to undertake any industrial action," said Mr Jordan.

"What we're saying [to Heinz] is remove this loaded gun from our heads of starting to tone production down in November.

"At least give us until 2007 to see if we can change working practices and improve efficiency, whatever's needed to get to a position that is satisfactory to Heinz."

Heinz has said it is moving production because there is spare capacity at the Dutch site and it did not make sense to keep the Aston site open.

See the HP workers in Holland

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