Haribo has revealed plans to modernise its operations and reduce the workforce at its Castleford and Pontefract sites.
Over 200 jobs could be lost, a third of the workforce.
The sweet manufacturer, which was founded in 1920, made its move to West Yorkshire almost fifty years ago.
A major local employer, the company currently employs almost 400 workers at the Pontefract site and more than 200 at the Castleford site, which is losing its production of the ‘Maoam’ brand to Germany.
Haribo is due to enter formal consultations with GMB Union.
Lynn Brook, GMB Organiser said: “We’re now awaiting further detail from the company on more than two hundred potential redundancies at Haribo’s UK operation at the Pontefract and Castleford sites. It’s a bitter blow for these workers.
“Such a reduction would see a loss of almost a third of the workforce and would do immense untold damage to this area.
“Haribo are a major local employer and have been operating at the Pontefract site for half a century. The workers here have been working through the pandemic and this news comes as a hammer blow.
“GMB will be working tirelessly to support members affected by the proposals and fighting to save jobs wherever we can. Our union will be in there for the long-haul to defend our members’ employment and explore all avenues to protect livelihoods.”
Wakefield Council has been in touch with the company, which plans to make staffing reductions over the next 18 months, to offer advice on redundancy and employment support to those affected.
Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “It is very sad news that Haribo has felt the impact of competitive pressures within the global Haribo group, and has needed to take this action to maintain the competitiveness of the UK workforce.
“Haribo is one of district’s biggest employers and whilst we welcome the £21m investment Haribo is planning to make in its Castleford operations, we will also do all that we can to support them and their workers through this difficult and challenging time.
“We are fully committed to helping and supporting people our district, in whichever way we can and this includes offering employment support, to help people to find alternative jobs as soon as possible.”