After more than 30 years of making bittermints, a hard mint covered in dark chocolate, the Bendicks factory in Winchester, UK could be shutting its doors and relocating.
Storck UK, the German-based food giant who has been operating the confectionery company for 23 years announced it has moved into a consultation period with staff of the Bendicks company and trade members of the union Unite.
“Storck UK has recently announced the start of a consultation period to determine the future of its production facility in Winchester, Hampshire,” said the statement issued by the company, which provided no further information about what the outcome of this period might be.
Known for other creations such as Werther's Original and Riesen, Stork’s official statement indicates that they want to move the Bendicks' production facility to East Germany while keeping the sales and marketing operations in Winchester.
According to Unite, lower labor costs could be one of the reasons the company wants the well-known factory out of England.
The union, which represents most of the workers at Bendicks, is not happy about the impending closure, citing weak labor laws as contributing to this decision.
"Bendicks and Werther's Originals are famously British. The skilled workforce who have spent years manufacturing high quality confectionery now face an uncertain future." says Ian Woodland, a Unite spokesman. "Unite will be doing everything possible to protect jobs, in a community where unemployment is already too high."
According to an article form The Telegraph, the move would cause 140 workers to lose their jobs and comes on the heels of a rash of confectionery closings in the UK.
After Kraft's takeover of Cadbury in Jan. 2010 the Crunchie and Creme Egg factories in Somerdale were forced to close despite promises from the American company to keep them open.
Other plant closings have included Terry's and Rowntree.
Founded by Oscar Benson and Bertie Dickson, the quintessentially British firm, Bendicks has been manufacturing chocolate in England since 1930.
For more information, visit www.bendicks.co.uk and www.storck.us