EU forces sugar giant Tate & Lyle into job cuts at Silvertown refinery

06:00 15 February 2012

Tate & Lyle

Tate & Lyle's giant Thames Refinery at Silvertown. Picture: Colin Grainger

Archant

Sugar giant Tate & Lyle has launched a 90-day consultation that could see the introduction of a five-day working week for the first time in its history.

It could also lead to the loss of 30 jobs. The consultation follows 12 months in which the Silvertown refinery has been operating at 60 per cent efficiency due to the effects European Commission tariffs on importing sugar cane.

It meant that the refinery only had enough raw materials to operate 240 days out of the year. For the remaining 124 days there was nothing for the staff to do. The refinery, which employs a total of 850 people, works 24 hours a day, seven days a week and only closes for Christmas Day.

Now the company is consulting its workforce over the introduction of a five-day working week.

Ian Bacon, President of Tate and Lyle Sugars, said: “This is a sad day for us, and is in no part the fault of our skilled and dedicated workforce. It is entirely due to the constraints on our raw material supply created by the European Commission.

“For over a year our refinery has been running at 60 per cent because the Commission is failing to allow cane refiners fair access to raw material. We are taking steps to address this directly with the Commission but in the meantime must look to align our production workforce to the reduced volume of raw material.

“We remain highly concerned that the Commission is not taking steps to remove the artificial constraints on our raw material supply and to create a fair market in Europe.”

Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London: “This London company should be allowed to import as much sugar cane as it needs.”

East Ham MP Stephen Timms said: “I am very disappointed that the company has found it necessary to look at redundancies and it is particularly worrying that this problem has arisen because the Commission has not fulfilled the forecast which it set out some years ago. “

He said he would press the Government to find out what it could do to help but was not sure if any possible intervention would be timely enough to avoid redundancies.

West Ham MP Lyn Brown, whose mother worked for Tate & Lyle, said: “The problems Tate and Lyle face are only solvable at a European Commission level. This Government must stand up for businesses in Europe and the wider international community.’

“I will be meeting with the Government Minister responsible to make sure he understands just how important this factory is for Newham.

“I will ask him what he will do to protect our jobs and support businesses in this tough economic climate.

“Mum worked in Tate’s for many years, and I am concerned to read about the proposals to reduce the workforce. It has been a good local employer for many families in Newham.

“The proposed job losses will be a tragedy for the individual and their families.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest business news

Monday, June 15, 2015
Proposed tower at 22 Bishopsgate and [insert] view from The Momnument looking north [image: Hayes Davidson]

Designs for the proposed tower at 22 Bishopsgate have gone on show for the first time today in a public exhibition before the modified post-recession scheme is submitted for City of London Corporation approval later this summer.

Sunday, May 31, 2015
Silicon roundabout

Councillors in Hackney and Islington say they would welcome any investment into Tech City as government plans to transform the Old Street roundabout remain a mystery.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Conference on how start ups can make the most of collaborating with corporates

Start-ups were advised to be confident and know their worth when doing business with bigger companies at a conference about how they could effectively collaborate with larger corporates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Meg Hillier, representative for Hackney South and Shoreditch, during a photocall for Labour MP's at The House of Commons, Westminster.

MPs for Tech City have voiced their recommendations on how to ensure the technology powerhouse continues to thrive under the new Tory government.

Saturday, May 9, 2015
Russ Shaw speaking at Tech London Advocates conference

A new report has highlighted three major issues that could seriously affect the growth of Tech City.

Friday, May 1, 2015
Jessica Ellis and Tom Hankin are the brother and sister team behind Ambam

Looking for something extra special from shops on your local high street? Then try new social network Ambam, created especially for Londoners.

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more

London Bloggers

Monday, April 13, 2015
Vintage fashion shopping is a joy in London (Photo by Graham French/BIPs/Getty Images)

In with the old, out with the new. This is the mantra of the best London vintage shoppers today, whose aesthetic of effortless chic is becoming more sought after.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Eating the right foods can significantly improve your mood

Think sweet treats make you feel better? ‘Comfort foods’ could be adding to your misery.