Unions call for Nestlé to ‘export chocolate not jobs’
Nestlé announces plans to move production of its famous Blue Riband bar from the UK to Poland, resulting in almost 300 job losses.
Chocolate giant, Nestlé, has been criticised by unions after announcing plans to move the production of its iconic Blue Riband bar from the UK to Poland. Following more than 80 years of British production, the popular wafer-chocolate bar will now be manufactured in Kargowa, Poland at a factory that Nestlé cites as a “centre of excellence for this type of wafer-based product”.
Nestlé has cited greater efficiency and the ability to “remain competitive in a rapidly changing external environment” as the main driving factors behind its decision, and it forms part of a larger drive by the company to reduce costs in Europe, the Middle East and Mediterranean markets by 2019.
Nestlé’s decision to move production to Poland is expected to lead to the loss of almost 300 UK jobs, primarily across the company’s current production sites in York, Halifax, Fawden in North East England, and Girvan in Scotland.
The Brexit Effect
It is feared by some experts that this decision by Nestlé is an early effect of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Back in August, the Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, warned that Brexit could lead to the loss of more than 250,000 jobs over the next few years as companies contend with the devaluation of the pound and the prospect of weaker output and higher import costs. Indeed, there have already been warning signs that firms could move production elsewhere, with Ford announcing plans to cut jobs at its plant in Bridgend in South Wales.
As road freight to Poland and other eastern European countries becomes ever more efficient, it’s quite possible that we will see other companies follow the example of Nestlé and Ford as the impacts of Brexit begin to take effect.
Nestlé urged to ‘think again’
Unsurprisingly, trade unions GMB and Unite are critical of Nestlé’s proposals to switch production to Poland and have urged the company to reconsider the move.
Announcing the union’s intention to fight the plans, Unite’s national officer, Julia Long said,
“We will be campaigning to save as many jobs as possible and pressing Nestlé to think again about these plans which will see the loss of hundreds of jobs and the production of an iconic biscuit shipped to Poland. Rather than turning its back on its UK workforce, Nestlé should be investing in its UK operations and keeping production here at plants in the UK. We will be scrutinising the company’s business rationale for these job losses, and explore alternatives to its cut-and-run approach.”
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary added,
“Nestlé are throwing people’s lives, and those of their families, into turmoil for the sake of increasing profit margins. These factories should be exporting chocolate – not people’s jobs. The government needs to step in before it’s too late and reassure millions of workers across the country this is not just the tip of the Brexit iceberg.”
Nestlé expects that the majority of job losses resulting from the move will be achieved through voluntary redundancies, and the company is currently in the middle of a 45 day consultation with trade unions and employee representatives.
Improve Office Morale By Getting Your Team Out In Nature This Season
Does your workplace need a boost in terms of mood, morale and productivity? Outdoor team building sessions in London are just what you need this summer.
Summer is here – and what better season is there to take your corporate team outdoors and get stuck into some fun and motivational team building activities? Although workplace events of any kind are known to encourage bonding and enhance productivity, there’s an extra buzz that is created when your employees get the chance to head outside to the great outdoors and interact with nature. Perhaps it’s the fresh air and ample vitamin D that puts your workers in a good mood, or the fact that spending time outside can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of fantastic activities to choose from that would be perfect for an away day in one of London’s parks. Here is a selection of ideas to choose from.
Not just an entertainment option for weddings and garden parties, these giant lawn games are the perfect opportunity to involve all members of your organisation in some competitive fun. There are a huge number of games to choose from including boules, croquet, giant Jenga, giant Connect Four, quoits, dominoes and skittles. If space isn’t an issue, you could even draw up a good old-fashioned rounders pitch and enjoy a friendly game. Your employees will be split into small groups of 6 to 8 participants which encourages excellent bonding as they cheer on their team-mates, while being pitched head-to-head against a rivalling team will bring out their competitive spirit.
GPS Treasure Hunt
Why not bring a bit of modern technology into your outdoor activity? Treasure hunts have been enjoyed for centuries, but the latest twist is to use a GPS system to help your teams navigate towards finding the prize. Using tablets with a pre-loaded GPS app installed, your teams will be able to hit the streets of London answering a variety of trivia along the way. Interactive maps will allow you to see your position as well as that of your opponents. You’ll answer timed questions to assess how well you perform under pressure, as well as developing collaboration amongst your group.
It’s A Knockout
One of the most popular London team building events is an ‘It’s A Knockout’ tournament. For those that are not familiar with the TV show that ran from 1966 to 1982 in the UK, the tournament was essentially a comedy game show that featured lots of silly sporting challenges usually enjoyed by participants dressed in enormous foam suits. It’s easy to see why this has translated so well into a corporate team event. Get out of the office into one of London’s royal parks and enjoy some nostalgia and spontaneous laughter while clocking up points to help your team become the ultimate Knockout Champions. You might take part in costume relays, have fun with giant inflatables, or throw water-filled sponges in a castle competition. A comical compere will keep everyone thoroughly entertained throughout the day.
Make the most of the sun while it lasts and get your employees out and about to enhance their mood and morale in the workplace.
Digital Tax Plan Dropped from Government Finance Bill
HMRC’s much-heralded digital tax plan has been pushed back by at least a year, and might be scrapped entirely following a backlash from taxpayers and politicians.
When the government announced plans to make tax digital in 2015, it was generally met with a note of cautious optimism. Many saw it as a long-overdue sign that HMRC was joining the rest of us in the 21st century, by creating a user-friendly online system that would make the annual tax return a simple, intuitive process.
However, as more details of the plans were unveiled, one company of Peterborough accountants has encountered an increasing number of taxpayers and small businesses expressing concern that the new system could create more of an administrative burden rather than less. They predict that the self employed could end up facing a different tax deadline practically every month of the year, instead of the single annual tax return they have to file under the current system.
Gone for good?
Some commentators are greeting the news as confirmation that this was an ill-conceived, unpopular plan that has received the treatment it deserves, particularly in view of the uncompromising comments from Chas Roy-Chowdhury, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ Head of Tax.
When members of the Treasury Select Committee asked him about the plans, he replied that the Association had raised “serious concerns” in relation to the implementation and had recommended that it be delayed till after the General Election, to allow time for detailed and comprehensive debate. He further agreed with the decision to delay other controversial measures pending further debate.
A representative from the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales also welcomed the fact that the plans will receive further scrutiny and debate, saying the government had made a sensible decision.
When the policy was first announced by George Osborne in the 2015 budget, it was predicted that an extra £2 billion would be generated in tax revenue every year. However, the scheme has always had influential and vocal critics, most notably the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, which warned that the roll out was placing unnecessary burdens on small businesses and was being rushed into place.
Or just a delay?
However, it might be an over reaction to suggest that we will all adopt an “as we were” posture and forget about making tax digital.
From the moment Theresa May announced that she would be calling a general election, it was a foregone conclusion that many forthcoming bills would be shelved or at least pushed down the priority list, so it should come as no surprise that this particularly controversial one was among them.
In fact, around 80 percent of the proposed Finance Bill was reduced, so in that context it would, perhaps, have been a bigger surprise if it had remained in.
In the event that May’s Conservative Government is returned with a good majority, it is reasonable to expect that all those clauses will be reinstated into the new Finance Bill, MTD included.
Even if it is not, it is hard to believe that digital tax will not become a reality in the near future. At the very least, politicians and software developers will now have some additional time to come up with a system that makes it a change for the better for all concerned.
For an entrepreneur, it is necessary to learn the ins and outs of selling. It can be a major challenge but it is manageable if you follow some strategies. Here are some tips to help you boost your sales skills:
Find your comfort level.
You need to get comfortable with selling to gain the confidence and the inside knowledge necessary. You can seek the aid of a mentor or even enroll in a sales class to improve your sales skills.
Define your target audience.
In order to refine your selling strategy you will need to identify a specific customer target. Is it small retailers? Schools? Identifying your target will save you time and effort.
Study customer buying habits.
After you identify your audience, it is important to study customer behavior. When selling a high-priced item you may notice that the customers spend more time to make the decision. In that case, you’ll need to spend more time to close the deal. If you charge a lot less, customers may question the quality of the product.
Please the first customers.
You need to make an effort to please your first customers. They will help create reputation for your company. To grow your business, It helps to have testimonials and references early on.
The first thing you are selling is yourself. You need to build a relationship with your customers. It is an ongoing process but it’s worth the time and effort. If they don’t like you, it’s very unlikely that the sale will happen. It’s a good idea to send personalized messages to your customers, instead of generic ones. This shows that you took the time and effort to address the customer individually.
Find ways to stay connected with your customers, through regular newsletters for example. You can also use social media to stay up to date with your audience. If possible, give your customers some face time. This will also help build your relationship while keeping the contact lively and fresh.
It is a mistake to assume you know what customers need and what they are willing to pay. Try to ask customers questions about what criteria they use to make their purchase decisions. If you never ask you’ll never know!
Establish a daily ritual.
Don’t leave things to chance. It’s easy to get caught up in all the work, especially if you wear different hats in your company. Instead, try to allocate some time each day to create your sales routine. This might mean reserving an hour or two each day to set your sales goals and make some calls to meet these goals.
Display your success.
Your website is usually the first contact that a potential customer has with your business or company. It should be professional and helps build your credibility. If possible, include testimonials and case studies of customers that you worked with in the past.
Turn into an industry expert.
Create blogs and seek media exposure to build your credibility and trust. It is important for people to see you as someone who understands the industry. Becoming an expert will attract new customers and strengthen your sales pitch.
Creating and promoting your product is usually not enough. Your sales approach is as important as the product you’re selling. An entrepreneur needs to create a personal relationship with the customers by bringing a personal touch to the sales process. People buy from someone they can relate to. If you fail to reach the customer personally, you run the risk of losing the sales to someone who takes the time and effort to do so. Here are some tips to help you build a special relationship with your potential customers.
Imitate the local business experience.
We all remember the experience of a corner business where the owner knows you personally and remembers small details about your family and your life. It’s a good approach to model your business on that idea. You can, for instance, remember one or two details about the customer and casually bring them up in conversation. Everyone feels they are important when someone can remember some details about their life.
Ask the right questions.
Before you embark on a hard sell, take the time to ask the right questions. The idea is to know what the customer is looking for. It’s easier to show that your product fulfill the customer’s need when you know what they actually need. Try to use open and closed ended questions. This will create a stronger relationship.
Woo your customers
Selling resembles dating, you woo your customers in hope that they will return your attention. It takes time and effort. Out of ten people, three may want to know more about your product. You need find ways to hook the customer and make them want to call you back. Remember to be respectful of their busy schedule.
Talk about yourself
Revealing something about yourself is another way to get personal with your customers, but make sure it’s not too personal. It’s a good idea to make it something your customers are likely to relate to. Studies show that if a salesperson share their birthday or birthplace with their customers, they are more likely to make a purchase and feel good about it.
Develop a good listening habit
No one likes to feel ignored in a conversation. When you ask your customers questions, make sure you are really listening to their response. Before you formulate your answers, wait for the customer to finish and understand their needs and concerns. Customers don’t want to be treated like dollar bills, so make sure you understand them personally.
Aim for direct contact with your customers
E-mail and social media made things much easier when reaching a potential customer. But face-to-face contact remains the most effective way to create meaningful connections. Communications should not be limited to emails and phones, but both are good follow-up methods.
It takes patience to develop a meaningful and lasting relationship. Don’t rush the process. When introducing your product, make sure to take the time to explain how it will benefit the prospect. Patience is a good habit when cultivating this new relationship. Don’t make your customer feel rushed to make a decision. You may lose them forever.
It is important to get involved on the social Web, not only to present your business but also to develop and grow your reputation. Being invisible on the social Web means you’re not a part of the conversation, with no chance to grow your reputation. So it’s important to take action to grow your Web visibility.
Before you start, you must determine your general goals and approaches to keep you on track. You can always change things down the road, just as you may like to change conversational approaches on a personal level. But remember that, in social media marketing, your mode of talking and conversation is done through the keyboard and your audience is much larger. At any case, these eight steps will get you started on the right track:
- Know your goals.
Start by asking the right questions to determine the type of content you’ll be publishing and what type of activities you will choose to participate in. Why are you choosing to participate in the social Web ? Are you trying to get direct sales, or offer some customer service ? Do you want to build a relationship and boost the level of confidence with your customer ? The answers to these questions will determine your approach.
- Know your resources.
It is important to know whether you have the necessarily technical skills to join the online conversation. Determine who will be creating and maintaining your social media accounts and who is going to be the face of your business on social media. This person will be answering the questions and presenting your business in the best way possible. Can you be that person ? If not, are you willing to learn ?
- Know your audience.
Before you start, you need to determine your target audience and where do they spend their online time. You also need to determine what they are most vocal about and what informations they really want from you. You need to know what your audience wants and needs to provide the content they’ll find most interesting, while still being there to interact with them on a personal level.
- Create amazing content.
You need to present your audience with great content, preferably in the form of a conversation. This will help you build a loyal following of people who will trust you to meet their needs.
- Make a schedule.
It is preferable to create a schedule for your social media marketing activities. You can, for example, allocate ten minutes of Twitter each day before you check your e-mail and before you finish work. This will help you maintain your activities each day.
- Focus on quality, instead of quantity.
Don’t get caught up in numbers, it is better to have few loyal and highly engaging followers than have a larger number who never acknowledge your efforts.
- Give control to your audience.
It is your audience who must take control of the online conversation. This will help make them develop emotional attachment to you, your brand and your business.
- Keep learning.
Be flexible and never stop listening and learning. Don’t be afraid of change.