Almost 600 jobs will be lost in northeast England after the decision by Nestlé to close a factory by the end of 2023.
The Swiss-owned food group said 573 jobs were at risk from its proposal to close the Fawdon factory near Newcastle upon Tyne to focus production on plants in York and Halifax.
The GMB and Unite unions said that 475 jobs would go at Fawdon, where Fruit Pastilles are made, and 98 at the York factory, where KitKats are produced.
The company said it is adapting for the future, with a £29.4 million investment at its factories in York and Halifax. It added: “Nestlé Confectionery has an ambitious business strategy in the UK and these proposals are intended to support our long-term success in an increasingly competitive category.”
The GMB union said it is “sickening” that lives are being “ruined in a ruthless pursuit of profits. Nestlé can afford to treat workers right.”
Nestlé, which employs 8,000 workers in the UK, is proposing to move production of products from Fawdon to other factories in the UK and Europe. The company said it will make sure that those affected are “properly supported” throughout a consultation process.