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Tate and Lyle workers told Brexit would protect jobs

Published 22/06/2016

The Tate and Lyle Sugars refinery at Silvertown in east London
The Tate and Lyle Sugars refinery at Silvertown in east London

Employees at Tate and Lyle Sugars have been told that leaving Europe would benefit the business and protect their jobs, according to a report.

A letter from one of the company's top bosses said that positions at the firm, one of Britain's oldest, will be safer if operations can move beyond the reach of EU tariffs and restrictions.

Employees will not be told how to vote in the message from senior vice president Gerald Mason, who said the company had been prevented from turning a profit as a result of being in the Union, the BBC reports.

He wrote: "Last year EU restrictions and tariffs pushed our raw material costs up by nearly 40 million euro (£31 million) alone, turning what should have been a good profit that we would all share into a 25 million euro (£19 million) loss.

"We pay as much as 3.5 million euro (£2.7 million) of import tariffs to the European Union on some of the boats of cane sugar that unload at our refinery, only for the European Union to then send that money to subsidise our beet sugar producing competitors in Europe."

Mr Mason blamed a policy in Brussels of favouring sugar beet refiners on the continent over cane refineries for hindering their success and jeopardising jobs.

"(They said) that if we lose our jobs then that's democracy because there are more beet producers than cane refiners in Europe. That is not the sort of democracy I want to be part of," he wrote.

Tate and Lyle Sugars was founded in 1878 and has operated a sugar refinery on the Thames ever since.

It recently launched the Save Our Sugar campaign, urging the EU to level the playing field among European cane and beet sugar manufacturers.

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