Heinz infant formula production shift to Fonterra a ‘massive blow’ - Unite

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Heinz infant formula production shift to Fonterra a ‘massive blow’

Related tags: Infant formula, Milk, English-language films

Heinz has proposed plans to transfer production of Asia-destined infant formula from a plant in the UK to New Zealand-based Fonterra – a move that British workers union, Unite, has described as a “massive blow.”

The company announced last week that it was launching a consultation period with employees and their representatives to discuss the transfer of production from its plant in Kendal, Cumbria to Fonterra, which will co-pack the products.

Under the proposed move, 45 of the 170 Kendal plant employees are set to be made redundant.

According to Heinz, the decision is “part of a wider efficiency review.”

In a statement, Heinz said that supplying infant formula from the UK to markets in Asia and the Far East, such as China, has become “increasingly uncompetitive”​ and is “not efficient or sustainable in the long term.”

Unite “not optimistic” about saving jobs

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Unite regional officer, Alan McGuckin, said that despite the on-going consultation, Unite is “not optimistic”​ about saving any of the 45 jobs that are on the line.

“This has clearly come as a massive blow, as the proposed redundancies account for 25% of the Kendal workforce,”​ said McGuckin.

“We’ve met with the company, and we understand that these plans are at an advanced stage.”

“We’re not optimistic about the reducing the number of losses,”​ he added.

Decision made “after careful consideration”

Commenting on the proposed production move, vice president of global infant and nutrition supply chain, Itziar Albisu, said that the company understands employee “concerns​.”

“We regret having to make this proposal but it has only been made after careful consideration of all possible alternatives,” ​said Albisu.

“The production transfer proposal and job impacts at Kendal do not reflect on the dedication and hard work of all employees at the site. We recognise the impact this proposal could have on our employees and the community, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult period,” ​he added.

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