Twinings Tea workers are planning a protest outside the shareholders meeting of brand owner Associated British Foods, scheduled for Friday.

The workers – represented by trade union Usdaw – are resisting plans to close sites in Newcastle and Andover, which could result in the loss of up to 400 jobs.

The cuts form part of a restructuring plan aimed at shifting some production overseas – although tea for the domestic market will continue to be produced within the UK.

“Twinings is moving abroad to seek cheap labour and for no other reason,” said Usdaw’s Mike Parsonage. “If we allow this to happen, no manufacturing jobs will have a future in the UK.”

He added: “Twinings is a highly profitable company that has betrayed a loyal workforce and will no doubt exploit the worker in Poland and China.”

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Jobs under threat as Twinings considers overseas production (7 November 2009)