GMB shop steward goes to Belgium to save London sugar jobs
A shop steward from London is today travelling to Brussels to try and save 95 jobs at the Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery in Silvertown.
GMB member Ray Boyle is attending the EU Sugar Forum as a first step in safeguarding job losses under threat at the site. He will be accompanied at the meeting by Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European Officer who is based in Brussels.
These proposed job losses arise over the company problem of sourcing enough cane sugar from the Caribbean and Pacific sugar plantations because of European Union import restrictions. Tate & Lyle is pursuing legal redress against the European Commission for this import ban.
When Britain acceded to the EU in 1973 arrangements were made for the UK to be able to continue to source raw cane sugar from the Caribbean and the Pacific region and this arrangement should continue to apply says GMB
Kathleen Walker Shaw has intervened with the Commission over the import restrictions that are affecting the Silver Town site which is currently running at 60% of its capacity.
GMB organiser Paul Campbell said: “We’ll be telling the Forum that the suggestion that 95 workers at the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in London should pay the price for this European import restriction with the loss of their jobs is completely unacceptable. GMB is saying no to these redundancies and GMB is demanding a strategy from the EU to avoid these job losses. Much of the UK’s sugar is sourced from cane sugar and this refinery is not able to refine sugar using sugar beet as a raw material.
“I believe that the European Union is putting the interests of the EU farmers who grow sugar beet ahead of that of these East London workers and the workers on the sugar plantations. When Britain acceded to the EU in 1973 arrangements were made for the UK to be able to continue to source raw cane sugar from the Caribbean and the Pacific region and this arrangement should continue to apply.
“GMB’s European Officer will also put pressure on our friends in Europe to assist the company in its negotiations with the EU to get enough cane sugar to keep the London plant working properly.”
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