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

Friday, August 28, 2015
Arina

Demystifying the process of growing companies securing funding from investors and lenders is the aim of the first event of its kind in the UK.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
The Brew, Coffice

A co-working space in Tech City is perking up the office with a new concept space blending fast connectivity and artisan coffee on demand.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Computer class

New figures show, in the face of growing youth unemployment, vacancies for digital jobs is set to widen in the next year.

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Fiona McSwein

With cinema screenings, wine and cheese nights, yoga sessions in the office and increased working from home, one business is trying to show how flexible working is the future of the corporate world.

Thursday, August 6, 2015
Azimo Founders

The chief executive of a digital money transfer service, which has been recognised by the United Nations as one of the most comprehensive and best value transfer companies in the UK, has spoken about how technology is streamlining the money transfer sector.

Monday, July 27, 2015
Boddington

A leading tech boss has called for more action to get girls interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at school and for Tech City to become more multicultural.

Competitions

Shop till you drop!

Home to top name brands at great prices, TK Maxx is more like a treasure hunt than a shop. Perfect for grabbing a bargain or some hidden gems, you arm yourself with a trolley and go wild.

Read more
Scones, jam and a cup of Earl Grey anyone?

Luxury boutique hotel Flemings Mayfair has recently launched The Drawing Room, London’s most stylish location for afternoon tea.

Read more
Free weekly shop? Yes please!

Win £200 to spend at Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets. Asda prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here.

Read more

London Bloggers

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The Cuban

The Cuban is set up like an old relative’s house in a tropical country – doors thrown open in welcome.

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.