Nestlé’s Fawdon factory to close with loss of 475 jobs

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé's Smarties are still manufactured at the company's York factory. Pic: Nestlé
Nestlé's Smarties are still manufactured at the company's York factory. Pic: Nestlé

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Nestlé has confirmed the closure of its Fawdon factory near Newcastle in North East England, with the loss of 475 jobs under the proposed move to EU production.

As reported in ConfectioneryNews​, the Swiss-headquartered company announced the proposal to shutter the facility last year, citing the “need to reorganise and simplify its network of manufacturing sites across Europe​”.

It has also proposed to cut 98 roles at its York factory, where former Rowntree brands including Jelly Tots, Yorkie bars, and Smarties were manufactured.

In the future, Nestlé brands such as Fruit Pastilles will be made in the Czech Republic and Toffee Crisp bars in Poland, while mini egg versions of brands such as Kit Kat and Milkybar will be made in Bulgaria.

'Completely unacceptable'

Ross Murdoch, GMB trade union national officer, said the closing of the profit-making site and moving production to Europe was “completely unacceptable​” and would have a devastating impact on workers and their families.

A Nestlé spokesperson said: “The consultation around the changes we proposed in April 2021 is still ongoing.

“We said from the outset that we wanted to provide adequate time and space for these discussions and it is only right that they are held directly with our employees and trade unions and not in public.

“It remains a priority to support our people and their families through this process and we thank everybody for their patience. We will provide an update once the consultation is complete.”

Murdoch said transporting finished products from sites in Europe back to the UK – where they are consumed – will result in significant additional road and sea miles, increasing pollution and environmental damage.

Nestlé also added the majority of its UK confectionery portfolio would continue to be produced in the UK and it had invested £20.2m in its York factory – and a further £9.2m in its Halifax site – to “build on its expertise and equip the factory to take on the largest portion of Fawdon’s current production​”.

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