Tyne & Wear

Durham's Refresco bottle plant to close with 93 job losses

More than 90 jobs are to go with the planned closure of a soft drinks bottling plant in Durham.

Bosses at the Refresco factory said the decision followed the company's merger with Somerset-based Gerber Emig.

Work currently done by 93 staff on the Belmont Industrial Estate site is to be switched to a similar facility in the West Country next year.

Managing director Gerry Smith said about half of the workforce would leave the factory by Christmas.

The company, which bottles fruit juice for most of the UK's major drinks manufacturers, has been in Durham since 1970.

Declining market

Talks with the Unite union are ongoing about the possibility of relocating some staff to Somerset.

Mr Smith said: "Following the merger there are now two plants doing much the same thing, but which are also both underutilised in a market which is declining.

"Regrettably, the decision has been made to close Durham and move work to our sister plant in Bridgwater.

"Obviously this has come at the worst time of year, but we are making every effort to offer staff opportunities in Somerset should they want to move.

"We expect the plant to cease production by the second quarter of next year."

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