MP urges Government to stop "hundreds of job losses" at Haribo in West Yorkshire

Pontefract MP Yvette Cooper has urged the Government to prevent “hundreds of job losses” at Yorkshire-based sweet manufacturer Haribo.

Sunday, 6th September 2020, 4:32 pm
Updated Sunday, 6th September 2020, 4:38 pm
Haribo has had links with Pontefract since the 1970s. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Today Haribo, which opened a new £92m factory and distribution centre in Castleford in 2015, confirmed it had entered into a consultation process with staff regarding redundancies.

Ms Cooper said the “grim” news had been “even more of a blow” for employees who had kept working throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

She said Wakefield Council had already set up a team to support the workforce, but “urgent help” was needed from the Government.

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Pontefract, Normanton and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

“The country is already in recession - we badly need action from Government to prevent things getting worse,” Ms Cooper said. “That means at Haribo we need support to help the workforce, to try to save jobs, and to try to prevent any job losses which are happening because of new machinery until after the recession is over.

“I am really worried not just about the job losses at Haribo, but also about the timing when so many other local jobs are being hit because of the recession. And I have been in touch with GMB trade union who represent Haribo workers and who are now assessing the proposals to see whether there are alternative ways to save jobs.”

Haribo was founded in 1920 and came to West Yorkshire in 1972, when it bought into Dunhills, the owner of Pontefract Cakes, acquiring full control of the company in 1992. It still has a factory shop in the town as well as the new manufacturing “centre of excellence” in neighbouring Castleford.

Haribo confirmed to the Yorkshire Post that proposed changes included ceasing production of MAOAM products, which will be centralised globally.

Managing director of Harbo UK, Jon Hughes, said it needed to respond to “significant rising costs and the demands of a highly competitive market” in order to protect the long-term future of Haribo manufacturing in Yorkshire.

“None of these proposals are taken lightly,” he said. “They are driven by the need to secure a sustainable future that will safeguard our proud heritage in Yorkshire and enable continued investment in our people and brands.

“Our priority now is our colleagues. We will provide all the support necessary as we consult with them about the best way to protect the future of Haribo manufacturing in the UK.”

The Department of Business has been approached for comment.