Local press reports claimed that the employees were dismissed for tampering with an emergency switch that shuts off operation of a sugar hoist on a Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles production line.
However, Nestlé refused to confirm or deny that claim to FoodManufacture.co.uk.
In a statement sent to FoodManufacture.co.uk, the global food and beverages manufacturer only said: “Nestlé UK can confirm that four people have been dismissed from its factory in Fawdon for gross misconduct safety-related offences.
‘World-class safety culture’
“Safety and health is of paramount importance to Nestlé and we are committed to creating a world-class safety culture. It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further on any individual.”
A representative of manufacturing union the GMB confirmed to FoodManufacture.co.uk that it was advising at least one person who had been dismissed and that it was in the midst of an internal process.
She declined to disclose any further details concerning the circumstances of the individual dismissals.
40,000t of product annually
It is not known as yet if any of the staff had launched an official appeal against their dismissal from the Tyne-and-Wear-based Fawdon plant, which employs 600 people and makes 40,000t of product annually.
Nestlé has made substantial investments in the Fawdon factory, near Newcastle, in recent years, particularly in environmentally friendly waste reduction initiatives.
The site is also home to the company’s Blue Riband, Munchies, Caramac and Breakaway brands.