Gloucestershire

Weetabix packaging workers stage protest against closure

Protesters at Vibixa factory
Image caption Dozens of workers protested against the factory closure

Employees have held a demonstration against plans to close a factory which makes cardboard boxes for Weetabix.

More than 100 staff at Vibixa in Cheltenham were told last month they will lose their jobs when the Kingsditch Lane site closes early next year.

The company, which is owned by Weetabix, said it had offered an increased redundancy package.

A spokesman for the Unite union said the new offer was "not good enough".

Mike Meredith, who has worked at the factory for 12 years, said he was disappointed with the way Weetabix had handled things.

'Million pounds profit'

"We never seem to get any reasons why it's happened. We're a company that has made a profit and we feel we've been treated wrongly."

He said the protest was to "get a fair offer" for workers, some of whom have have served the company "for over 30 or 40 years".

Andy Hewlett, from Unite, said the redundancy package was "not good enough".

"These people have been making a million pounds profit each year. Weetabix think they can make more more by sending the work somewhere else.

"They've offered these people just over statutory redundancy for that. We don't think that's fair at all."

'Phased closure'

"I'd like to see them come back and give these people a fair offer. We've put proposals in that would give an enhanced package to older workers and workers who've worked here for a very long time."

A spokesman for Weetabix confirmed a "phased closure" of the business would begin in early 2015.

"An enhanced redundancy package has been offered and we will be supporting employees to find new roles with out-placement support and a number of local companies have already been in touch to make us aware of vacancies.

"Throughout this period we will be providing support to employees in the search for alternative employment."

The spokesman added it had been a difficult decision "and we appreciate it affects all of our people and their families".

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