Britvic to close Norwich factory with loss of hundreds of jobs

Britvic's factory in Norwich is to close with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

The drinks manufacturer said it would be transferring production of Robinsons and Fruit Shoot from Carrow Works to other locations across the UK.

The factory is to close towards the end of 2019 and move production to sites in Rugby, east London and Leeds. The company said it would offer the employees affected redeployment opportunities at other sites.

Currently 249 are employed at the factory, but this figures includes a number of staff on 12-month fixed-term contracts which will end before the site closes, a spokesperson said.

The company said that transferring production to other sites would deliver "significant productivity and efficiency savings" in its manufacturing operations.

It also said there would be environmental benefits and enable them to respond to changing consumer trends "faster and more efficiently".

CEO Simon Litherland said: "This was not a proposal that we made lightly and we understand that the outcome of the collective consultation process will be upsetting for our colleagues in Norwich.

"It is a sad and difficult time.

"I want to thank everyone at Norwich, past and present, for their dedication, hard work and commitment, and I would like to say again that this decision is in no way a reflection of their performance."

The firm said it has informed Unilever, which co-owns the site.

The Unite union described the announcement as a "hammer blow for the workers and the economy of Norwich in the run up Christmas".

Unite national officer for the food and drink sector, Julia Long, said: "This is a hammer blow for the dedicated workforce and their families, especially when it comes just before Christmas.

"It is bad news for the wider Norfolk economy, especially as we face challenging economic times in 2018."