Workers union the GMB has passed an emergency motion at the Labour Party Conference calling on the government to intervene in job cuts at Nestlé.

Labour delegates on the conference floor voted unanimously to pass the motion following the news that Nestlé is transferring the production of its Smarties brand from York to Germany, cutting 645 jobs. It follows the earlier announcement that 234 jobs will be axed from its headquarters.

Last month British Sugar also announced 117 job losses in the area, while a year ago Terry's chocolates transferred the production of its Chocolate Orange from York to Poland with the loss of 316 jobs.

The GMB said these decisions would have serious implications on the workforce and communities where there was little alternative skilled employment.

The motion means that it is now up to the government whether it intervenes.

The GMB wants it to meet Nestlé to persuade it to keep the production in the UK and to meet food manufacturers and trade unions in order to develop a strategy for investment in order to maintain food manufacturing in the United Kingdom.

A spokesman for the GMB said it was now up to the government to act. "The broadcasting industry is regulated, the electricity industry is regulated. They have rule books and we want a rule book for operations in the manufacturing industry," he said.