Rachael Questions Prime Minister on Nestle

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In Westminster, at the last Prime Minister's Questions, the Prime Minister failed to give an assurance to York Central’s MP, Rachael Maskell, that the government would intervene to try and avert the 300 job losses announced by Nestle yesterday and safeguard future jobs.

Ms Maskell, who has previously written to the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary, to urge them to do more to help the company and its workers, asked the Prime Minister to work closely with Nestle, the trade unions and MP’s whose constituencies include the Nestle factories to resolve the problem and consider an arrangement with Nestle, similar to that given to Nissan last year. 

Acknowledging it was a ‘worrying time for workers and their families’ the Prime Minister’s only suggestion was that those affected could go to Jobcentre Plus.  

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“I am bitterly disappointed by the lack of compassion and fairness shown by the Prime Minister. It is appalling that rather than try and avert these job losses and safeguard future jobs at Nestle the Prime Minister shrugs her shoulder and says that people can go to the Jobcentre. She acknowledges ‘it’s a worrying time for workers and their families’ but she’s not prepared to do anything to help them.

“She’s been in contact with the company to ‘understand their plans and next steps’ but not to negotiate or offer any assistance. So that’s no help at all for the workers and their families who are devastated at the prospect of losing their jobs and are now worrying about their futures.

“Last year Nissan said it had been possible to safeguard jobs because of government ‘assurances and support’ that it would be protected from the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. Nestle has now announced actual job losses and the Government is not willing to help.

“I will be meeting with Nestle later this week to discuss how we can work together to secure jobs”

 

This is how Hansard recorded the exchange:

Rachael Maskell (York Central) :

Over the past six months, it has been announced that 2,000 jobs will be lost in York. Yesterday, Nestlé announced 300 job losses, 156 of them in my constituency, which is devastating for workers, their families and the community. Jobs, not products, are being exported to the EU, and as ever, York’s skilled jobs are being replaced by low-wage, insecure work. In the light of the special deal at Nissan in Sunderland, will the Prime Minister meet me, trade unions and the company to strike a special deal to save these jobs and avert the losses both now and in the future? [909824]

The Prime Minister:

First, the hon. Lady is right to raise this issue of the announcement from Nestlé, which arose, as she says, only yesterday. We should be clear that Nestlé has itself been clear that this is not a decision that was affected by leaving the European Union—it says it has made it irrespective of that—but of course it is a worrying time for the workers and their families at Nestlé in both York and Newcastle. I can assure her that we are already in contact with the company to understand its plans and the next steps. My right hon. Friend the Business Secretary will speak with senior Nestlé representatives later today. The Department for Work and Pensions of course stands ready to put in place its rapid response service to support any workers made redundant by helping them back into employment as quickly as possible, and there are various ways in which Jobcentre Plus can help. What is important is that we ensure that the support is there, and as I have said, the Business Secretary will be speaking to Nestlé representatives later today.


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