Nestlé plans to close its confectionery factory in Newcastle upon Tyne next year, with the loss of 474 jobs.
The company is currently in talks with employees about the future of the Fawdon plant, which currently manufactures products including Toffee Crisp, Rolos and Fruit Pastilles.
It is understood that some of the production currently in the North East will move to Halifax, West Yorkshire, while other brands will move to the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland.
The future of the plant, which began making confectionery for Rowntree in 1958, has been in doubt since last April, when Nestlé said it wanted to end production at the site.
The company, which employs more than 8,000 people across the UK and Ireland, said in a statement: “The consultation around the changes we proposed in April 2021 is still ongoing.
“From the outset we wanted to provide adequate time and space for these discussions and it is only right that they are held directly with our employees and trade unions and not in public.
“It remains a priority to support our people and their families through this process and we thank everybody for their patience.”
The GMB and Unite unions condemned the decision to close the site and move production abroad.
“Closing this profit-making site and shifting production to Europe is completely unacceptable,” said GMB national officer Ross Murdoch. He added: “Meanwhile, transporting finished products from sites in Europe back to the UK – where they are consumed – will result in significant additional road and sea miles, increasing pollution and environmental damage.”
“GMB and Unite will now speak to members in Fawdon and find out what they want to do next. We will give them whatever support and resources they need to fight this.”
Joe Clarke, national officer for Unite, said: “Our membership is bitterly disappointed that alternative proposals to keep the site within Nestlé Fawdon open have been rejected.
“We are currently seeking further information in relation to the proposal and we will enter into dialogue on next steps imminently.”
The unions urged prime minister Boris Johnson to intervene to save the Fawdon site last year. Swiss-based Nestlé bought Rowntree in 1988.