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28 March 2018, 15:08 | Updated: 28 March 2018, 18:40
Coca Cola says it WILL move ahead with plans to close sites in Milton Keynes and Northampton, with the loss of almost 300 jobs.
The drinks giant said the closures will take place in 2019, following consultations with workers over the past two months.
A Coca-Cola European Partners spokesman said:
"We want to stress that this is not a reflection on the performance or professionalism of our colleagues at these sites.
We are committed to supporting all those impacted throughout the process of closure and beyond, by offering training and development opportunities, as well as tailored outplacement support.
In addition, there will be redeployment opportunities within our business with the creation of 121 new roles across our manufacturing and distribution network.
Whilst this was a difficult decision to make, we believe it is the right way forward for our business. It will allow us to significantly improve productivity and create greater efficiency for our business in Great Britain, allowing us to continue to grow in this increasingly dynamic market.
We will be transferring all production and warehousing from Milton Keynes and Northampton to other GB sites and will continue to invest in our business to support long-term growth."
The Unite union says Coca Cola has not made the business case for the closure of its sites at Milton Keynes and Northampton and should have an urgent rethink.
The drinks giant has confirmed its plans, announced in January, that the manufacturing site in Milton Keynes and the distribution centre at Northampton would close in 2019 with the loss of nearly 300 jobs.
Unite regional officer Sally Mortimer said:
"This is devastating news for the workers and their families, and the local economies in Milton Keynes and Northampton. Unite does not believe that Coca Cola has made a convincing business case for these closures. There were strong representations from Unite during the consultation period.
Even at this eleventh hour, we urge Coca Cola to have an urgent rethink and not to jettison the hardworking workforces at these two sites.
We will be exploring with the company the redeployment opportunities that it has offered today, so as many workers as possible find new jobs within Coca Cola.
As a union, we will be giving our members maximum support during this very difficult time for them."