CAMPAIGNERS TO save Twinings jobs in Andover are demanding to know if British taxpayers’ money will be used to subsidise Twinings’ plan to sack 400 workers and move most production to Poland and China.
Andover Trade Union Council has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable, Europe Minister David Lidington and Andover MP George Young seeking an investigation into grants that Twinings is set to receive for establishing a factory in Poland.
The call comes after it emerged that the European Union Commission is seeking “formal guarantees” from the Polish government that Twinings is not using EU grant funding to relocate, rather than invest in new operations.
The EU Commission has already confirmed that Twinings’ Polish subsidiary has sought funding for a new £38 million plant in Swardedz through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and that it has been earmarked more than £8 million in grants from ERDF and Polish funds.
The Commission added that the project had been accepted by the ERDF, but that the contract had not yet been signed off by the end of May.
“The rules are quite clear that grants are available for new investment, but not for relocation, and Twinings is quite clearly relocating, at the cost of 129 jobs in Andover and more than 260 in North Shields,” Andover TUC secretary Derek Kotz said today.
“That can only raise the suspicion that British taxpayers, including Twinings workers themselves and Andover people, are subsidising Twinings’ plan to sack most of its UK workforce to chase cheaper labour overseas.
“It is shabby enough that a highly profitable company is planning to ditch a loyal and award-winning workforce, but to do so using British taxpayers’ money would be a shameful and almost certainly unlawful abuse.
“We know that the EU Commission is seeking assurances from Poland, but we need our own government to ensure that UK jobs are protected and we have asked the relevant ministers and our own MP to investigate.”
For further information visit the Andover TUC website.