Burton’s is to press ahead with plans to end biscuit manufacture at its Moreton factory and move production to Edinburgh and Llantarnam resulting in 109 job losses.

However, the company has agreed to consider Unite, the union’s proposals to retain the chocolate refinery and seasonal assortment packing operations and extend the 12-week consultation period until 16 May, which could see some of the remaining 233 jobs kept at the site.

A spokesman for Burton’s commented: "There is some innovative thinking driving potential cost reduction, flexibility and enhanced capability in relation to the chocolate refinery and seasonal assortment packing that the company now wishes to take some further time to consider."

It added that while biscuit manufacture at the site would end in October, "consultation will continue regarding the consequent redundancies including ways of minimising them and mitigating their consequences".

Unite vowed to continue to press Burton’s management to agree to secure future employment at the factory.

Unite regional officer Ritchie James admitted that the lack of investment over the years and the loss of volume had made any counter-proposal to keep all the 342 jobs on the Moreton site impossible.

He said: "It is our view that the union counter-proposal provides a positive advantage on the key financial factors provided by the company. Unite has presented a case on the key issues of cost versus benefits and it beats any other proposal on the table."

Burton’s has cited an increasingly challenging and competitive environment with industry over-capacity and high commo-dity cost inflation as the reasons behind its decision to shut the plant.

* In related news, the company has achieved its aim of sourcing 100% segregated palm oil, two years ahead of schedule.

It is using segregated palm oil to bake all its products, meaning the sustainable supply can be fully traced from plantation to product.

>>Question mark over Burton’s site