Trade unions have slammed Nestle for proposing 300 jobs losses including some at its factory in Halifax as it moves the production of the iconic Blue Riband chocolate biscuit to Poland.
Blue Riband has been made in Britain since 1936 and is primarily consumed by the UK market - meaning it will have to be exported back into the country if production moves to Eastern Europe.
Up to 15 jobs are expected to be cut in Halifax and more in York (143 jobs), Fawdon, North East (110) and Girvan in Scotland.
GMB and Unite unions warn this could be the tip of the Brexit iceberg as companies use leaving the EU as an excuse to slash jobs and trample on workers’ rights.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “To shift the production of an iconic British brand like Blue Riband to Poland is completely unacceptable.
“Nestle are throwing people’s lives, and those of their families, into turmoil for the sake of increasing profit margins.
“These factories should be exporting chocolate – not people’s jobs.
“The Government needs to step in before it’s too late – and reassure millions of workers across the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”
Lynn Brook, GMB Officer Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region, said: “Once again Yorkshire is bearing the brunt of the cuts in an area synonymous with confectionary production par excellence for decades.
“These jobs belong in York and Halifax.
“This Government needs to give confectionary workers in York - home of the Kit Kat - ‘a break’ and back them before it’s too late.
“GMB will fight these cuts all the way and has already joined forces with York Central MP Rachael Maskell.”
Nestle confirmed it is consulting on changes to its operations which could lead to the loss of 298 jobs at four sites including those in York and Halifax.
These proposals are being made by Nestlé UK to ensure that these sites operate more efficiently and remain competitive in a rapidly changing external environment.
A statement said: “A 45 day consultation on these proposals will commence as soon as possible with trade unions and employee representatives.
“Nestlé UK appreciates that this is an uncertain time for employees and will work hard to ensure all are supported through this difficult period.”
The company said it expected the jobs to go through voluntary redundancy.