ANDOVER Labour Party is appalled at the decision by Twinings to axe 129 jobs at the Andover factory as well as 263 in North Shields.

There is no justification for this action, apart from potentially destructive greed.

Andover was praised as factory of the year only one month before the decision was announced, so there cannot be any industrial reason for the closure.

Twinings have also made huge profits this year, in the face of the recession.

Nor does it make logistical sense to move processing from an area where 48 per cent of the tea produced is consumed (UK and France) to the proposed areas, Poland or China, where virtually none of Twinings tea is drunk.

The only reason jobs are being transferred is to save money, by exploiting foreign workers and paying lower wages.

However this is likely to rebound on Twinings.

They have two main selling points:- quality and Englishness. Neither of these will survive a move abroad.

Poland has no experience of tea, let alone Twinings noted quality and the quality will be lost.

Englishness is a great selling point for Twinings in the States and Canada. This will also be lost.

That would leave Twinings competing in the mass market against Brooke Bond, Tetley and the like - a battle they will not win.

Equally appalling is the lack of reaction by Andover's elected representatives. Sir George Young has wiped his hands of the whole affair - compare this with his announcements about saving Lloyds TSB jobs.

And what of Test Valley Borough Council? It is not just the Twinings jobs, but those of Howard Tenens, who operate the deliveries for Twinings and CPC, who produce the packaging.

Not only that, but the already ailing industrial estates will lose yet another large occupant.

We call on Sir George and the councillors and officers of Test Valley to come together and join the staff of Twinings in campaigning to save a central employment base in Andover.

Alan Cotter, Chairman, Andover Labour Party, The Drove , Andover.