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Norwich councillors asked to support campaign to keep Britvic and Colman's factories in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:36 25 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 25 November 2017

The future is uncertain for workers at Britvic and Unilever in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

The future is uncertain for workers at Britvic and Unilever in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

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City councillors will be asked to support the EDP and Evening News' campaign to keep the Britvic and Colman's factories in Norwich.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, will put forward the motion to members during next Tuesday’s full council meeting.

It comes after Britvic announced it planned to close its factory at Carrow Works in Norwich and move production to other facilities in the UK.

On the same day in October, Unilever, which makes Colman’s Mustard at the same site, announced it was reviewing its own future.

A petition set up this newspaper to keep both factories open has since been signed up 11,000 people.

Next week, Mr Waters will ask cabinet members to support the campaign to save both factories, and ensure they continue operating in the city.

He will say: “Britvic and Unilever employ hundreds of people from Norwich and across Norfolk.

“They are a crucial part of the city and county’s manufacturing base and economy.

“Robinsons, one of Britvic’s brands, has been based in Norwich for more than 90 years, while Unilever produces arguably Norwich and Norfolk’s most iconic brand, Colman’s Mustard, made in the city for more than 200 years.”

Meanwhile, Eamon O’Hearn, national officer for the trade union GMB, has accused the government of giving up on Britvic.

He said: “Our understanding is that the government have given up on Britvic, and therefore are willing to allow 249 direct and at least 50 in-direct workers lose their jobs.

“Our estimate is that this will take at least £8M in wages out of the local Norwich economy, which is a huge impact.”

The comments come after MP George Eustice, secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be “wholly inappropriate” for the government to comment on Britvic’s future, as the company was going through a consultation process.

Britvic’s consultation has to take a legal minimum of 45 days from October 10, meaning it could end on November 24.

But a company spokesman refused to say when the consultation was ending, adding: “it would be “wholly inappropriate” to stipulate an end date.

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