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Union admits factory workers will struggle to find new jobs

A union had admitted it will be difficult to find new jobs for the 200 workers losing their jobs because of a factory closure in Norfolk.

Food manufacturer Heinz has confirmed it will shut its plant at Worstead, near North Walsham, in April.

It follows the loss of a contract to make frozen potato products for the Aunt Bessie's brand.

Malcolm Robertson reports.

Factory closure is 'devastating news' for staff

The closure of the Heinz factory in north Norfolk is "devastating news" for workers, union representatives have said.

Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, said the timing of the announcement - just days before Christmas - made it particularly upsetting.

David Gill, Usdaw national officer, said the workers did "not deserve this" but acknowledged the loss of the contract with the owner of the Aunt Bessie's brand had been a big blow to the factory.

"Confirmation of the closure is devastating news for our members, their families and the wider community, particularly just before Christmas.

"Our priority is to work with the company to help find alternative employment for the staff. We will continue in consultation meetings throughout January to agree the procedures for the expected closure of the plant in April.

"There is no doubt that the loyal and committed staff on-site do not deserve this, but the loss of the Aunt Bessie's contract has proved to be a fatal blow."

– David Gill, Usdaw.

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Heinz to close Norfolk factory

The Heinz factory at Westwick, Norfolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

Heinz has confirmed it will close its Westwick factory in Norfolk next year.

The food manufacturer first began consulting on plans to shut the site near North Walsham in October following a decision by the William Jackson Food Group - owner of the Aunt Bessie's Brand - not to renew its licence with the company.

Heinz says, without the contract to manufacture its frozen potato products, there is no longer enough work to keep the factory operating.

A spokesman said attempts to find a buyer for the site had failed.

The factory will continue operating until April 2015, when the Aunt Bessie's licence ends.

Heinz will now focus its efforts on helping workers to find other jobs and will carry on discussing closure plans with unions until at least mid-January.

Bedfordshire: See (and hear) the bear that's causing a Christmas kerfuffle...

Bernard the bear Credit: ITV

A musical Polar bear has been causing a song and dance in Bedfordshire.

Bernard, a 6 foot mechanical bear which sings Christmas songs outside a cafe in Shefford, has been investigated by the council after complaints about noise.

Central Bedfordshire Council said it takes all complaints seriously and is urging people to be mindful of their neighbours when planning festivities.

So what do you think? Click below to hear Bernard singing one of his Christmas songs.

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Training the traders of the future

Students using the trading floor Credit: ITV News Anglia

A university in Essex has spent £160,000 on creating a trading floor for its business students.

The room at the Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford has all the equipment financial organisations work with and students are able to trade and invest but with virtual money.

The aim, to give students an experience as close as possible to a real financial organisation.

There are currently 2,500 students at the university on business accounting and finance based courses.

Students say its more productive than learning in a library Credit: ITV News Anglia

There are currently 2,500 students at the university on business accounting and finance based courses.

The financial sector contributes more than 10 per cent to the UK economy.

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