The economic extremist quest for unethical profit reared its ugly head again in Wessex when the owners of Shepton Mallet Cider Mill, where 120 jobs are at risk, announced a profit forecast of €103 million. The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill is due to close in the summer when production, including well-known brands such as Blackthorn and Olde English, will cease. The pulped fruit will instead then be transported to Ireland. The first 40 redundancies were announced earlier this month.
Trade Unions have described the threatened closure as a ‘disgrace’, stating the Shepton Mallet plant is a profitable site and its employees have contributed greatly to the €103 million forecast.
The Wessex Regionalists are naturally concerned to hear of any job losses in the region, but are dismayed when the company is clearly profitable. Monetary reform, which our party is currently discussing, would certainly soften the blow for workers losing their jobs, however we also need to look at the bigger picture and of a company which has shown little concern for its workforce and the local community in its quest for increased profits. It is ‘tail wagging the dog’ economics which is not only allowed but encouraged by the Westminster parties.
Whilst Trade Unions are calling for management to accelerate its efforts to find a buyer for the site, claiming its owners, the C&C Group, are highly profitable which should allow plenty of time to find a buyer, the fact remains the workforce would still possibly be at the whim of another company who could exploit them in a similar manner. At the same time Westminster sits idle.
Regional government in Wessex, with the same powers as those devolved to Scotland, could allow support for a workers buyout of the business, looking upon it as an investment in the region’s economy. Of course, a regional government led by Westminster thinking of the Westminster parties would offer little change – and it’s doubtful whether support for this major Wessex cider maker would be forthcoming. This is why Wessex does not only need devolution, it needs the Party for Wessex to protect jobs and the Wessex economy.
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