Unite is seeking urgent assurances from Unilever bosses after its decision to sell off its margarine spreads business has put 200 jobs in Essex at risk.
Responding to Unilever’s decision to off load Flora and its spreads business, Unite national officer, Rhys McCarthy said, “We are deeply concerned and disappointed that Unilever feels the need to appease the speculators in the City of London by selling its spreads division, after the recent failed Kraft Heinz takeover bid.
“Unilever makes products much loved by UK consumers and the market for its spreads, including household brands such as Flora, Bertolli and I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter, is still strong and profitable,” he added.
“The decision to off load its spreads business has left nearly 200 workers at the Purfleet factory in Essex in a state of deep anxiety for their futures.
“Unite will be entering urgent talks to seek guarantees and assurances from the company,” McCarthy went on to say. “It is clear that Unilever has embarked on this course of action to avert a future predatory takeover by vulture capitalists such as 3G Capital owners of Kraft Heinz.
“If we are to stop much-loved British brands being sold off to the highest bidder, the government needs to strengthen the UK takeover code rules and put a public interest test in place for proposed takeovers of this size, just as other governments do, such as the Dutch, which considers the interests of stakeholders beyond just the profits of shareholders.”