Union leaders have responded with dismay to the news that Norwich’s Colman’s factory is to be closed by owner Unilever, with the loss of nearly 70 jobs.
The shutdown of the site – famous for producing the iconic English mustard – affects nearly twice as many posts. However, Unilever says it plans to transfer 43 jobs to its Burton plant where two other famous brands – Marmite and Bovril – are manufactured.
Closure will not occur until late 2019 and it is also planned that a further 25 jobs will be created for a new mustard milling site close to the city.
However Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary, described the news as “absolutely devastating news for the workforce at Coleman’s, for the city of Norwich and for manufacturing in East Anglia”.
Colman’s has been a feature in the city for more than two centuries, when founder Jeremiah Colman opened his business there.
The present Carrow Road factory dates back to the mid-Victorian era. Colman’s was purchased by Unilever in 1995. Until recently Carrow Road was used jointly by Britvic.
However, the soft drinks company quit last year, after which Unilever indicated it would review the future of production there.
GMB spokesman Kenny added: “It is our immediate intention to speak with our members at Unilever and to seek an immediate meeting with the company and local elected representatives to fully understand what has led Unilever to make this devastating decision, and whether there are alternatives that should, and must be considered.”