Sixty jobs under threat at drinks firm

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Up to 60 people could be made redundant from a South Elmsall-based company in the new year.

Finlay Beverages, a supplier of tea and coffee, announced plans to restructure the business last week.

Managing director Ian Bryson said: “This has been a very difficult decision to make and one we have not taken lightly.

“However, the retail black tea market in the UK has declined significantly over the past 10 years to the point that there is now an oversupply with manufacturers fighting for continually smaller volumes and lower margins.”

Finlays currently employs 177 people in the UK and has an annual revenue of £40m. The company said up to 60 jobs were at risk as it started a consultation process with its employees on Tuesday. It said the Finlays black tea segment had been running at a loss “for several years”.

In a statement, it said: “The restructure is needed to protect the rest of the jobs at Finlay Beverages and to ensure it remains an important local business and employer.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said the announcement was “deeply concerning”.

He said: “I am extremely concerned about the state of our economy and this is another signal that things aren’t quite right.

“I hope that the company can do everything they can to save as many jobs as possible.

“For anybody facing redundancy at any time, it is problematic and it is even more poignant in the run up to Christmas. I would expect any company to do full consultation within the workforce to see if it could do restructuring without the need for compulsory redundancies.

“We are very proud of our local companies and they do a lot for our local economy. Every company and every job is precious and it is obviously deeply concerning that a local company is feeling the national pressures. These are worrying times.”

The job cuts are expected to be completed in early 2017. Finlays said it would work with staff and union representatives and would offer support to help those affected find other work.

Mr Bryson said: “This restructuring is deeply regrettable but without this strategic change in black tea teabags production, we are undermining the viability and prospects for our other business segments.

“We will continue to supply roast and ground coffee, fruit and herbal teas, speciality and green teas and black tea to customers who fit with our restructured business model.”