SOFT drink bosses must intervene to stop the closure of the iconic Robinsons drink factory in Norwich and save hundreds of jobs, unions demanded yesterday.
GMB and Unite have written to the directors of British soft drink producer Britvic urging them to meet the workforce and local community and listen to their concerns over the impact of the factory’s closure on the local economy.
Robinsons — which produces the famous cordial sipped by tennis stars during Wimbledon — has been based in Norwich for 92 years and along with mustard maestros Colman’s is synonymous with the Norfolk city.
Closing the historic site would lead to 242 jobs being lost, the unions said and urged bosses to reconsider.
The company plans to transfer production of Robinsons and Fruit Shoot to sites in east London, Leeds and Rugby.
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for the factory to remain in Norwich.
The letter highlights the “strong tradition and rich history” of food manufacturers in Norwich caring for and acting as benefactors to the local community.
The unions said the company is “exceptionally profitable” and despite questions being raised in Parliament they remain unclear as to why the factory is earmarked for closure.
GMB regional officer Ivan Mercer accused bosses of witholding a key report from workers saying: “There is a strong feeling that this process is being rushed, and that there has not been any meaningful consultation with the workforce or their Consultative Group.”
Unite national officer Julia Long said Britvic must explain why it plans to close the factory.
“Our membership deserve better than this from a company for whom they have worked hard to earn good profits for Britvic over many years,” she said.
“We are going to campaign strongly so that Britvic remains in Norwich and the closure proposal is reversed. Norwich can ill afford to lose this number of jobs.”
Britvic chief executive Simon Litherland said it was “not a proposal that we make lightly and we know this is upsetting news for our colleagues.”
The drinks company said the aim was to improve efficiency and productivity adding that it intends to close the site towards the end of 2019.