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Unions warn of jobs losses on New Years Eve

Unions say some staff could lose their jobs on Dec 31st Credit: ITV News

Union bosses claim staff working for City Links which has depots in Northampton, Peterborough, Norwich and Chelmsford could lose their jobs on New Years Eve.

The parcel delivery firm went into adminstration on Christmas Day.

Talks were held yesterday to try and salvage jobs. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union say they're no closer to a deal and that more than 2,000 workers across the country will lose their jobs.

"It is crystal clear.. that there has been a truly horrific catalogue of mismanagement at City Link and that staff and their union have been starved of basic information while a plot was hatched to publicly collapse the business on Boxing Day when in fact it was already declared insolvent.

What a despicable and callous manipulation of thousands of workers and their livelihoods over Christmas as the venture capitalists cut and run leaving a trail of chaos and misery in their wake.

Vince Cable has said he will meet us in the New Year. Clearly that is too late and the business will have been smashed to pieces by then as the asset strippers hover like vultures over the corpse.

RMT is demanding a meeting with Vince Cable right now, not when it's too late. We want to put a plan together for a Government backed rescue that protects the business and the jobs it supports. If the government can nationalise the bankers then they can nationalise City Link which is clearly in the public interest. "

– Mike Cash, General Secretary, RMT

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.

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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