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Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 14:08 GMT
Mock wake staged in sauce protest
HP wake
Empty HP bottles are placed into a coffin
Protesters have staged a mock wake to mark the closure of the HP sauce factory in Birmingham.

The final sauce bottle rolled off the production line last Friday, marking an end of more than 100 years of sauce making at the site in Aston.

Production is moving to The Netherlands with the loss of 125 jobs.

Workers placed empty HP bottles into a coffin. One man said to make the sauce in Holland and import it into to the UK was "a scandal".

Nearly 50 people took part in the protest.

Deposit on house

Zeff Qurush, a senior shop steward for the Transport and General Workers' Union who worked at the plant for 30 years, said it felt like a family member had passed away.

"It's the death of HP, it's a British institution and its going to be made in Holland and re-imported back to the UK. It's a scandal.

"They have taken something that's very dear to the British public to another country.

Ray Egan atop the HP building in Aston, Birmingham
Ray Egan with his Daddies for Justice sign

"I hope people turn against HP and go for something that's truly British."

Retired worker Terry Welsh, 69, said he worked there for 27 years and met his wife there.

Another worker, Wally Kitley, 62, said the firm had even given him 500 to put a deposit down on a house.

The protest not only marks the end of British HP production but is also a protest against British production in general being moved abroad.

Last week Birmingham protester Ray Egan dressed up as John Bull - an 18th Century fictional character personifying Great Britain - and climbed onto the roof of the HP Sauce building.

He described the closure as another example of the country "selling off the family silver".

The HP factory closed after US owners Heinz decided it was not viable.

In total 124 workers have lost their jobs

Final British bottle of HP sauce
16 Mar 07 |  West Midlands
HP closure 'is soul destroying'
16 Mar 07 |  West Midlands
Sauce protester takes to the roof
13 Mar 07 |  West Midlands
Bid to ban HP in Commons' canteen
13 Oct 06 |  West Midlands
Rival turns up heat on HP Sauce
28 Aug 06 |  West Midlands
Staff told of HP factory closure
23 Aug 06 |  West Midlands

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