Sadness as Banbury’s coffee production era comes to a close
“The coffee factory is as much a part of Banbury’s heritage as its economy”
The fall-out has continued today following yesterday’s shock news that large parts of Jacobs Douwe Egberts Banbury operation are closing down. 280 roles have been put at risk as the coffee factory’s production operation moves abroad.
The Banbury site will be retained simply as a specialist coffee packing facility with just 134 roles available.
A JDE spokesperson blamed an overcapacity of freeze-dried coffee in their European factories and said that Banbury was the least cost competitive factory in their network for processing coffee.
Following the news Banbury’s MP said she knew this would not have been an easy decision for the management to come to, but JDE like many other companies were faced with having to adapt to some of the challenges associated with rapid advances in technology.
Victoria Prentis said: “While this has come as disappointing news given how important the factory is to our town, no official decision has been made at this point. I understand that all associates have been briefed today and a consultation will be launched at the end of the month. It is important that all associates facing the possibility of redundancy participate and make their views known. I know that JDE will be carefully listening to concerns throughout this difficult process.”
She added that she would be speaking to the JDE Plant Director later this week.
The Leader of the Labour Group at Cherwell District Council described the news as awful. Councillor Sean Woodcock said: “The coffee factory is as much a part of Banbury’s heritage as its economy. My grandmother worked there back in its earliest days until she retired.
“So the news that 280 jobs are to be axed at Jacob Douwe Egberts is simply awful.
“Workers were threatened with ‘fire and rehire’ two years ago, which Labour have said we will ban if we form a government. But with the wholehearted support of the town managed to resist these plans and hoped that their jobs were safe.
“This is a real blow and my thoughts are with those employees affected and their families.”
Meanwhile a representative from the GF Club said they were thinking of the staff. The club started life as a social club for JDE factory workers back in the days when the factory was called General Foods.
The statement said: “We are very sorry to hear of the closure of some major departments in the factory and wish to send our condolences to those workers that will be affected.
“To reassure our members here at the club, we have not been affiliated to the factory for many a year and run independently of them. Therefore we will be carrying on as normal and look forward to serving you all for a longtime to come.
The name of General Foods will live on in us.”
Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam