11/04/2008

Tea Time Over For Nambarrie

One of Northern Ireland's top teas - and a favourite in Scotland too - is no longer to be packed in central Belfast.

While sales and distribution will continue locally and the Nambarrie brand will be retained, as many as 43 people could lose their jobs with the possible closure of the Nambarrie factory in Belfast later this year.

The company has been consulting staff about the closure of the facility in the Cathedral Quarter.

Manufacturing, senior management and finance and administration jobs will all be affected, the company has said.

While Nambarrie has been in Belfast for more than 100 years, the decision to consider closure was made by its parent firm, R Twining and Company.

It said it needed to consolidate its UK manufacturing operations in the face of increasing global competition.

Last night, Nambarrie Managing Director Brian Davis - himself a well known figure in the local grocery trade and a significant contributor to a series of major charities - said it had been an unhappy announcement to make to staff.

"Our employees have made us a local success and for that we owe them a deep debt of gratitude," Mr Davis said.

"As a company considering this tough decision, and if this proposal is to progress, we will be providing our employees with significant ongoing support in terms of redeployment within the Twinings company in the UK, enhanced redundancy package and out placement support.

"Consumers should be reassured that the Nambarrie brand will continue in Northern Ireland and I am glad that this is the case."

The plant at Victoria Street in the city's Cathedral Quarter is under review, the firm said, because of the need of parent company Twinings to consolidate its UK manufacturing operations in the face of increasing competition in global food markets.

The announcement does not affect Nambarrie's sales and marketing division or the outbound distribution depot in Mallusk. It is hoped that 14 jobs will be retained in the business in Northern Ireland.

The company's major competitor is Punjana, a family owned business based off Belfast's Albertbridge Road.

(BMcC)

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