Campaigners have said that today’s confirmation the Heinz factory at Westwick will close is a ‘devastating blow’ especially as the news comes just days before Christmas.
The North Norfolk Labour Party launched the Jobs Means Heinz petition in response to Heinz’s initial proposal and had hoped to show bosses the importance of the factory as well as keeping over 200 jobs. Nearly 2000 people signed the petition but bosses refused to accept it as part of the consultation period.
They now are calling on residents to avoid buying Heinz and Aunt Bessie’s products over Christmas.
Denise Burke, Labour’s candidate for North Norfolk, said: “The closure announcement by Heinz just before Christmas is a devastating blow. Our thoughts first and foremost are with all the workers at the factory and their families who have been given the worst possible Christmas present by Heinz. We hope that at least Heinz has the decency to ensure the workers get the best possible support to find other work and the best possible redundancy packages.
The closure is also a devastating blow for many others in the local community, in North Walsham and beyond. Many suppliers, shops and businesses will be affected. Two hundred job losses will increase local unemployment by 30% alone.
The closure comes despite the fact that several thousand local people have signed a Labour Party petition calling for a rethink. But senior management at Heinz have ignored local feelings and refused to accept the petition.
We call on North Norfolk residents to boycott Heinz and Aunt Bessies products this Christmas. Companies like Heinz and William Jackson must accept their corporate responsibility to communities where they are based.”