Probably the worst decision in the world – unions blast Carlsberg job cuts

Unions have accused brewing giant Carlsberg of misleading staff after it announced the closure of its Leeds brewery – just weeks after hundreds of staff members had attended three days of compulsory ‘career development’ training.

Last week the brewer announced proposals to close its Leeds factory by the end of 2010 and began consultation with its 170 staff over their future with the company. Yet early in October the company shut down production for three days to give employees personal development sessions and health and safety workshops.

Speaking to Personnel Today at the time, Natalie Steed, HR manager at Carlsberg Leeds, said the training was expected to help with staff retention over the next five years.

But Stephen Huckerby, organiser with union GMB, one of the main unions representing Carlsberg staff, doubted whether many employees would be able to remain with the company, whose only other brewery is located in Northampton, and claimed staff had been “misled”.

“The company invested £23m in the plant over the last three years, and people obviously felt their jobs were safe,” Huckerby told Personnel Today.

“Large companies don’t make a decision yesterday and announce it today – clearly [Carlsberg has] been planning this for several months at least,” he said.

A Carlsberg spokeswoman could not confirm how many employees might take compulsory redundancy or whether anyone in the Leeds HR department would remain with the company.

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