Campaigners have today spoken with Heinz’s Director of Corporate and Government Affairs, Nigel Dickie, to present their case against closing the North Walsham factory.
Denise Burke, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for North Norfolk, helped launch the ‘Jobs Means Heinz’ campaign on Wednesday and today spoke to a senior manager at the company.
She raised her own concerns about the proposals at the Westwick factory as well as feeding back comments from the petitioning on the streets of North Walsham on Thursday. This included the impact on the whole community and those who might lose their jobs, the process for consultation and the possibility of extending the 45-day period. She also highlighted Heinz’s corporate responsibility and their responsibility for staff and the wider community, and the need to find new contracts or buyers for the factory.
Denise has vowed to continue to maintain pressure on Heinz – working alongside the unions Usdaw and Unite. Tomorrow North Norfolk Labour Party campaigners will be in North Walsham from 9am, and campaigning in nearby Stalham from 10.30am.
Denise Burke said: “I was pleased to hear Mr Dickie make the claim that every effort was being made by Heinz to support their staff at this difficult time, to look for new contracts, and secure a new buyer for the factory. Judging by his comments there appears to be flexibility to extend the 45-day consultation to beyond this time-frame which is something we will push. However I am surprised that they indicated they would not be undertaking an equality impact assessment to assess the impact of the economic and social aspects of the proposed closure.”
“I stressed that the proposed closure and job losses has come as an enormous blow to the local community and will dramatically affect the local economy and therefore undertaking an impact assessment would seem the proper thing to do. I have asked Mr Dickie and colleagues to reconsider Heinz position on this.”
“I hope I have made the case for showing just how important this business is for North Walsham and North Norfolk. We already have over 300 names behind the campaign in just over 24 hours and the numbers will continue to grow as we campaign over the weekend.”